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Knight Science Journalism Tracker

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by urbantravels, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Los Angeles, CA
    Hi all,

    I'm about to disappear into the holiday vortex for a bit, but I have an *excellent* project for someone else to take on. In the comments on this Daily Kos diary:

    http://m.dailykos.com/stories/2010/12/23/931235/-.html

    a commenter posted a link to the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, saying that they do fact checks on science journalism and have someone available who checks medical stories.

    http://ksjtracker.mit.edu/

    It seems to me that something could be made of the irresponsible way the "contamination" studies were reported as having "shown" or "demonstrated" that previous XMRV studies were due to contamination, and in an even more gigantic leap of logic, that the contamination studies showed that XMRV was not related to ME/CFS. The original egregious claims were made in the Wellcome Trust press release and in the comments of some of the researchers to the press, particularly the British press; and then they were picked up, amplified, copied, and re-tweeted around the world.

    These claims that were made in the press not only sought to discredit the work of other researchers (including prostate cancer researchers, although interestingly the story was spun as being about ME/CFS and prostate cancer was rarely mentioned), but explicitly stated that any proposed XMRV/CFS link had been disproved by the new papers. Uncritically repeating these claims amounts to irresponsible journalism, in my book. It is especially important to note that these statements about what the research has "shown" were NOT made in the actual research papers published in Retrovirology, but were made in press releases and subsequent statements to the press by some of the researchers (while other members of the research teams, such as John Coffin, were much more measured in their statements to the press.)

    Would anyone be interested in contacting the Knight people? If nobody else does, I'll try to get on it myself after the holidays.
  2. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Oh hey, and look what I just found on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker website - a story featuring a good friend of ours with the initials TT!

    http://ksjtracker.mit.edu/2010/12/16/chicago-tribune-off-balance-on-chronic-lyme-disease/

  3. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    WA, USA
    good for Knight Science!

    haven't got the spoons for that just now... but I sure hope someone does :)
  4. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    All right, I have duly tipped the folks at Knight and have exchanged email with someone there. They may write something but haven't decided yet. I will let everyone know if they do.

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