Fact vs. Hype in Science News

Date & Time

Wed, 12/02/2009
5:30 – 7 p.m.


The public needs reliable information on a range of science topics: whether desalination is an effective way to produce drinking water or which climate change policies deserve support. Traditional journalism delivers that through objective reporting of verifiable facts, e.g., research findings published in peer-reviewed science journals. But the “reporting” of science news has gotten murkier. Some new media sources have commercial or political agendas. Some science journals have been manipulated by ghostwriters from marketing companies. This forum considered how we can tell the difference between fact and hype in science coverage.




Kim McDonald
UCSD, Science Communications

Kim McDonald is Director of Science Communications at UCSD where he teaches an undergraduate course in science and environmental writing. He has a bachelor’s degree in zoology from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

David Washburn
Voice of Orange County

David Washburn has been telling stories in one form or another for the better part of 20 years. Prior to joining voiceofsandiego.org, he spent eight years as an enterprise/investigative reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune.
David is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and is currently working on a master’s of film and new media at San Diego State University.