"There has been a spate of research papers recently about how and why different audiences acquire and react to news; sometimes about science and sometimes about news more generally," Rick Borchelt writes. "Two captured my attention for what they can offer science communicators as we daily confront changes in the news landscape."
Bryn Nelson riffs on the new economics of journalism, where the pay is less than lawnmowing wages and getting your point across to your readers counts for less than page views, shares, and upvotes: "Think of it as a marginally kinder and gentler 'Hunger Games' for journalists. You see, my pay is contingent on each post being in the top 10% of all articles every month. Plus, if I’m one of the lucky six writers with the most points, I earn the unheard-of bonus of $150!"
Speakers should take a cue from novelists and screenwriters by structuring their talks to build suspense and spring surprises, Denise Graveline writes: "'Breaking Bad' kept a few secrets from its audience, but for the most part it was fantastically adept at forcing Walter and Jesse into choice, into action. The same is true of 'Freedom,' or 'My Brilliant Friend,' or 'Anna Karenina,' all novels that are hard to stop reading even when it seems as if it should be easy."
Did a documentary on cholesterol-lowering statins scare people away from their medicine? Cathleen O'Grady writes that Australian researchers say it probably did: "It’s impossible to say whether it definitely was the documentary that caused the change without finding each individual and asking them what made them stop filling their prescriptions … However, the evidence does seem to point in the direction of the media scare for approximately half of those [60,000] cases."
Dan Zak reflects on his progress from nervous intern to veteran reporter in an essay that is part how-to, part confessional: "There were times when I stayed in my car instead of getting out to face the uncomfortable, or when I left a community meeting without talking to a person that I really should've talked to. That's a special kind of journalist shame. I was young. And in that way I am still young sometimes." Reaction from Mike Feinsilber.
As the Supreme Court prepares its King v. Burwell decision, Tabitha M. Powledge notes that Obamacare opponents are taking a new approach: "So there is talk of finding legal ways to extend those subsidies after all. Which raises the question of why bring suit in the first place, but keep in mind that this is politics, where the only logic is the strategy for winning." Also, the comet lander Philae finally wakes up, and does "the female Viagra" rely on the placebo effect?
A Chinese newspaper's undercover reporter exposed cheating on university exams, but Charles Liu writes that the effort is being denounced: "Chen Baocheng, a reporter with Caixin Media, criticized the undercover reporter’s use of another person’s identity to gain admittance to the exam. Chen said that since the undercover reporter committed the same crime as those he was attempting to expose, he should be punished as well. 'A news article is no excuse,' Chen said."