While much science news is covered by specialists, the growing quantity of scientific and medical news and the increasing number of meetings — some lasting a week and featuring more than 2,000 papers — place a heavy strain on news staffs. Also, a great many breaking general news stories may have a scientific or technical component that a general reporter may be asked to handle. Thus, general-assignment reporters may cover many significant scientific and medical events. In particular, television and radio reporters are more likely to be generalists.
Often the general reporter works alongside science writers, covers the same events, and participates in the same news conferences. But his or her knowledge of science and its vocabulary may be more limited. He or she may require more simplified and lay-level explanations of jargon. Also, data may have to be explained with more perspective, including more information on the significance of findings, particularly as they may apply to human problems.
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