Science journalism not going quietly into the night

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca.

Can you believe that 20 years ago, 150 U.S. newspapers had science sections and that today, fewer than 20 do? That's the thinking behind the launch of a new non-profit news wire service called Futurity, which is backed by a number of top science universities including Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Princeton and Yale.

The site, which is also backed by Montreal's McGill University, is providing science news and information to news and social media sites in an effort to boost the level of coverage out there. Organizers say they're concerned that mainstream news organizations are cutting back their science coverage because of mounting financial woes. "We've been really concerned. Our preference would be to have the level of coverage of science and research that we enjoyed for decades," Lisa Lapin, assistant vice-president for university communications at Stanford, told Mercury News.

While this may be true, and nothing can really replace big mainstream news coverage in spreading awareness of science issues and discoveries, the move does seem to discount the rise of bloggers. There are literally tons of science blogs out there, from the straight up Scienceblog to Bad Astronomy to Not Exactly Rocket Science. Surely these blogs are making up for some of the mainstream shortfall.