22 September, 2010


I spent last week at the British Science Festival with large numbers of other science journalists, and very interesting it was too. Some of the interesting part was the science, and some was learning about how science journalists think, what gets into the news, and why.

I spent four days there and for most of the first three another BBC person was there. So this should mean we shared the stories and either did half each, or one of us did something for the radio (not me) and one of us for the website (me). In practice this did happen, but then I was left on my own for a day and a half... and got very panicky about what seemed to be an important story.

As it turned out, it was an important story for geeky scientists, and the Guardian covered it in quite a bit of depth on their website, but what happened after the interview was that everyone rang their editors (including me) who told them to ring their health editors (ditto) who said, not a very interesting health story. In fact, the BBC Online health editor gave a different reason to some of the other health editors, but I was a bit relieved to see that none of the other papers covered it, since we weren't!

I tended to be a bit random about which stories I covered, partly because I knew I had some backup, if anything was ultra important I wouldn't get in trouble for not covering it, but also because of course I'm not as attuned or experienced in what makes a good story, what's been covered, what's hot... But there were a few stories that were covered by absolutely everyone else (but not me), or by me (but no-one else). I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it when one story I wrote up for the website was mainly ignored by the other papers, but our radio guy decided to put it on the news. More exciting than everyone else thought, or I was over-hyping it to him?

But one thing that I've experienced this week is having soooo many stories out that older ones begin to fade into insignificance. And it does mean I was less bothered when I found a science blogger criticising one of my stories - not sure if that's why, but it was the most-read Science story for 2 days running, and I don't really mind why people are reading my stories!

No comments:

Post a Comment