Letter from the Editor

By Miller, Julie Ann | Science News, March 1, 1997 | Go to article overview

Letter from the Editor


Miller, Julie Ann, Science News


Man-eating trees? You won't read about them in Science News-or about the evil and beneficial influences of the numbers 7 and 13. These topics are on a list of stories that should be handled with care. It was prepared almost 50 years ago by Watson Davis, editor of Science News Letter (the forerunner of Science News). The topics weren't completely forbidden, because "some of the impossible things of today may become possible tomorrow." Indeed, the transmutation of metals, long-range weather forecasting, and drugs for curing obesity have moved from Davis' list into serious scientific, and thus journalistic, consideration.

While the topics have shifted over Science News' 75 years, the magazine's purpose and writing style, at their best, have remained surprisingly constant. In this anniversary supplement, we pause to glance over our shoulders before accelerating into the coming years. As we peer into a future of instant computer access to ever-growing mountains of information worldwide, we are convinced that our basic goals as journalists will remain much the same. Science writers will continue to sift out the most important and interesting findings and present them to readers in appealing, informative, and thoughtful stories.

Upset by what they regarded as misinformation about science in newspapers and an increasingly superstitious mind-set in the U.S. population, the founders of what is now Science Service wanted to convey the process of science and the discoveries of scientists to a wide audience. Today, we work to share with a broad range of readers both the intellectual excitement of science and the accumulating scientific information needed to form opinions about such practical concerns as health and the environment.

Before the days of academic programs in science journalism or even press releases, it was hard for Science News Letter to find qualified writers to tackle technical topics. The early writers had degrees in science, and some of the magazine's material was contributed by scientists. Eventually, a staff of full-time writers was hired. Warren Kornberg, who served as managing editor in 1966 and later as editor, insisted that the writers become more professional-that they be as smart about the topics they covered as the scientists were.

Staff writers began to specialize in various branches of science and soon became in-house authorities on them. The next editor, Kendrick Frazier, remembers his task as "having good people and letting them write as they thought best."

Most of those good people in the late 1960s and early 1970s had learned their science as journalists, but soon young people trained as scientists began turning to writing. Many of today's Science News writers studied science in college or graduate school.

Who are the scientists whose work is grist for science journalists? In the 1920s, the founders wanted to make public the work of "a few hundred, or at most a few thousand, well-trained men equipped with great mental capacity." By 1993, the number of Ph.D. scientists and engineers-men and women-in the United States had reached 700,000.

The scientific community has always been international, and from the start Science News Letter covered work done in other countries.

As phone service improved, far-flung scientists became more accessible to the Washington staff. The Internet has provided a quantum jump in international communication. Although Science News puts the scientific significance and substance of stories ahead of human interest and writing style, its editors have emphasized good writing tailored to the general reader. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Letter from the Editor
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.