Donald Trump’s Victory Sends a Mixed Message to Children

Like many parents on election night, I had two questions rattling around in my brain in the wee hours, before I finally drifted off into an uneasy sleep: How did this happen? What do I tell my kids? Nobody has a definitive answer to the first question yet and maybe never will. That’s because it…Continue Reading…

Lost in Science Translation: The Industry Taint

Several months ago, I was approached by Scientific American to participate in a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Here’s how the event was first described to me via email on January 20: We will be assembling a panel of diverse voices from the private sector, news media and academia to discuss…Continue Reading…

The Denier Boomerang

Last week, many cheered a landmark global agreement that promises to tackle global warming. Some prominent greens dissented, but experts are cautiously optimistic and clear-eyed about the difficult challenges ahead. Now that much of the world is officially united on the need to reduce greenhouse gases, one of the biggest fights going forward will be about what source…Continue Reading…

The Once Promising Journalist Who Became a Sadistic Troll

Science journalists, like their colleagues who cover politics, sports, and national security, navigate a landscape where public discourse is often fierce and at times unhinged. If a journalist covers one of these contentious areas, criticism–and responding to it–comes with the territory. But as science journalist Kevin Begos noted in a 2014 article for the National Association…Continue Reading…

Website That Excerpts Work of Journalists Without Their Permission Crosses an Ethical Line

A frequent complaint reporters hear about their stories pertains to headlines. Often they will agree (somewhat), throw up their hands in frustration and say, “I didn’t write the headline.” Which is true. Editors generally write headlines. It’s not an easy task. When I was a one-time editor just starting out, I pretty much sucked at…Continue Reading…

The Story Behind the Story

It’s no secret how journalists find stories. They cover a beat, talk to people (developing sources), read a lot, use social media, get tips, “collect string,” follow the news, scour public records, talk to people…you get the picture. But how d0 journalists decide what stories to write? There is a general criteria for newsworthiness that governs daily journalism….Continue Reading…

On Journalism, GMOs, and Bias

At their annual conference earlier this month, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) held a panel called, “What’s in your email, Doc?” From the blurb: Scientists working or speaking out on hot-button topics like climate change and GMO foods are being peppered with open-records requests to see their data and emails. Is this a legitimate…Continue Reading…

On GMOs, Industry, Activists, Scientists, and Journalism

  A freakish element has long colored the historically impassioned GMO debate. The “frankenfood” term was first advanced decades ago by anti-GMO activists to play into health fears about foods produced from the (then) new genetic engineering technology. (These concerns have not been borne out by science.) Today, the meme is an ingrained feature of the discourse, echoed widely in the…Continue Reading…

A Farewell Post

The time has come for me to say goodbye to this blog. I started Collide-a-Scape in early 2009, when I was halfway through a year-long fellowship at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism. I knew I was about to embark on a new chapter in my professional life (from full-time magazine editor to…Continue Reading…

The Robert Kennedy Jr. Anti-Vaccine Tour

My mother-in-law, who lives in New Jersey, recently mailed me a newspaper clipping. It was about a famous person who came to her state to publicly oppose a bill that would make it harder for parents to exempt their children from school-mandated vaccinations.  This same famous person had just visited two other states to lobby against similar legislation…Continue Reading…