Science Journalism: The Communication Channel between Complex Research Findings and the General Public

I’m Maria Anna van Driel, freelance investigative science journalist, foreign correspondent, columnist, ghost writer, graphic designer and the owner and founder of The Next Truth magazine.

In 2014, I become really in touch with my inner nerd due the teachings of the myriad scientists that I was working with. As I started writing as a science journalist I experienced a bit of what it must have been like to be Alice in Wonderland. And I was scared, really scared! I was scared of these super intellectuals with their big brains, their big books and their big, unfamiliar words. But as conversations and interviews unfolded, I experienced what Alice must have when she went down that rabbit hole and saw that door to a whole new world playing with my curiosity. That is just how I felt as I had those conversations with these open-minded scientists. I was amazed at the ideas that they had, and I wanted others to experience this wonderland as well. I believe the key to opening that door is great communication.

The general public is desperately in needs for great communication from our scientists and engineers in order to change the world. These supper-minds are the ones that are tackling our grandest challenges, from energy to environment to health care, among others. But if the public does not know about it and does not understand it, then the work is not done. I believe it is our responsibility as science journalists, to have these interactions. It is our task to blunt the jargon, which is a barrier to many, into the understanding of progressive ideas and groundbreaking experiments in new science, and invite the general public into the wonderland of science.

Science journalists are making these ideas accessible to the general public which is not the same as dumbing it down. Instead, as Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Describing the accelerated thoughts of our scientists by using single and readable sentences the audience can key into if they get a bit lost in the complexity of scientific research findings, is the key role of science journalism.

Yes… true… sometimes it can be a scary and difficult threshold to go in conclave with a journalist in general, but now more than ever, we need scientists who are prepared to break the silence. To set neutrality and the fear within, aside. Journalists and Scientists have different roles, but they share a goal — an informed public! Like you as a scientist, we are simply searching for the truth! It is our job to translate the complex research findings of your intriguing work and inform the general public, in an understandable language.

This search for knowledge is in my genes, our genes…in the genes of mankind globally! …and it is never going to be quenched. To understand and use the scientific language, as a part of today’s civilization, requires an open-hearted but downright communication between science journalists and scientifically trained people like you.

The general public needs to experience your enthusiasm, understand the complexity in your advanced theories and your work. So… let us science journalists, help to open that door to the wonderland that is science.

Let us take your science, subtract your bullet points and your jargon.
Let us divide it by relevance, share with the world what is relevant, and multiply it by the passion that you have for this incredible work that you are doing.
And that is going to equal incredible interactions that are full of understanding having the prospect of plural pleasant collisions in the transfer of comprehensible science with the general public.

We need you… the world needs you … badly!