Tuesday, December 08, 2020

another sensational article

Maybe I should not follow this referrals as the Google skynet bot AI keeps sending them to me...

Spotted the headline In their closest alignment in 800 years, Jupiter and Saturn will create a wonder: A Christmas Star.

Oh boy. 

Published on 7 Dec by Phys.org. No comments feature available, no direct connection to the author. No easy way to comment or correct.

I've seen a few headlines from Phys.org of late that I would describe as sensational or flamboyant. I tried to learn about this site. It says it is "powered by Science X Network." They go on to say "Science X™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics." So a news service.

Wikipedia has this to say: "Phys.org is a UK-based science, research and technology news aggregator offering briefs." Ah. They collate information from press releases, news agencies, and journal reports. They also produce their own science journalism. OK, that sounds good overall.

Some where along the way I noticed the article actually came from other site. Clearly this Jupiter-Saturn article was relayed via the aggregator process.

A Google search with the word "reliable" showed this at the top of the results.

"Overall, we rate Phys.org a credible Pro-Science source based on the publication of scientific information from credible universities and peer-reviewed publications as well as properly sourced original content." That is from mediabiasfactcheck.com, whoever they are.

The wikipedia article had an interesting reference to Ars Technica piece by John Timmer from a few years ago but that seems timely. It is entitled PR or science journalism? It's getting harder to tell. They point out that many establishments have shut down their science departments and have asked journalists with no science experience to fill in. In the mix are private organisations wanting exclusive access, i.e. a slice of the action.

So, as Katrina says, question everything...

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