I’s gots some explainin’ to do.
So, I’ve been sitting on a more or less fully edited – stylistically anyway – version of the big feature story that was the culmination of my three-month self-directed crash course in science journalism, for at least a month.
My project overseer, Paul Benedetti, was a fantastic editor, and I never really thanked him publicly for allowing me to take on this project. The project replaced an entire course, so it was a risk for both him and me, and I’m glad he let me take it.
Now the reason I’ve been sitting on it for a month is because of this, the absolutely fantastic comments that some really amazing people – Ed Yong, Alice Bell, Ferris Jabr, and Jennifer Ouellette – affixed to the rough draft of my story. Their comments are a testament to the open collaboration and insightful input the blogosphere can bring to a discussion.
Unfortunately for me, their comments managed to destabilize large portions of my story. Not disprove per-sé, but destabilize. As Ed kindly pointed out, whether to protect my ego or otherwise, the tone of my story as a synthesis rather than an op-ed was clear, so the attacks are not on me so much as the people whose opinions it represents.
So here’s a first of what I’m sure is going to be a common dilemma in my newfound journalism career: when do you let a story die?
For a crash-course in the field of science communication, I count it as a success. As it stands it is more-or-less accurate, stylistically polished, and I’d like to think readable. It is a contribution to the discussion, no matter how small, but as Jennifer Ouellette pointed out, it doesn’t solve any problems.
I’ve been sitting here for a month, trying to figure out how to solve all of the problems the kind commenters presented, without completely throwing out what I’ve already done. And today I decided I can’t.
It is better for me to let it be what it is.
I’m going to try to continue to learn and grow, and hopefully investigate and report on some of these deeper issues in science journalism and science communication.
I just don’t think it can all be addressed in one story.