science writing - why I'm doing it

Derek Oliver derek at ee.umanitoba.ca
Sat Aug 26 22:29:55 EST 2000

The "Nature" articles weren't "...your typical "he said/she
said"... " stuff, although my brief descxription could have
given that impression. The othehr article(s) alluded to
were, but they aren't the real issue here.

One of the points that I was making was the fact that the
people sympathetic to such a detailed article as you
advocate and as this person might write will have already
read the "Nature" articles or similar, which, by virtue of
the type of people we're describing (professional
scientists) will already be biased against the pecuniary
interests of those promoting H-1Bs (i.e. big business and
politicians). As the standards of education/literacy etc is
high in this demographic your need for another article is
moot. You are preaching to the already-converted or the
already-disagreeing, and to a small minority of the general
public (with minimal political leverage).

I can't think of many (? any ) political issues that are
resolved/decided based on a "proper" debate in the written
press these days, and in fact (digressing briefly) if one
looks back to he "halcyon days" of the print media (50-150
years ago) when 
the pronouncements of some writers and periodicals could
dramatically influence politicions, one finds the quality of
the writing to be somewhat better, but the debating to be as
tabloid, emotive and generally biased as anything in our
current media. 


Flavius Vespasian wrote:
> In article <39A439D8.46825319 at ee.umanitoba.ca>, derek at ee.umanitoba.ca wrote:
> >> How about a piece on H-1Bull visas?
> >>There have been a number of articles in "Nature" over the
> >last 4 months that have given an overview of the H-1B
> >situation. I thought they were reasonably balanced in that
> >they gave roughly even coverage to both sides of the
> >lobbying coin, i.e. the 'anti" arguments that have been
> >bouncing around here, and the "pro" arguments one finds in
> >trade publications (see the interviews in the July 2000
> >issue of "Semiconductor International" as examples). If you
> >measure column inches you'd probably disagree with that
> >assessment. However, the structure of the articles is such
> >that the comments about H-1B being essentially a short-term
> >solution rather than a long-term or strategic solution to
> >the problems industry claim to face dominate the  concluding
> >commentary. Furthermore, all the comments infavour of H-1B
> >are dominated by quotes from politicians and senior
> >management figures - so I'd suggest that the inherant bias
> >of most readers of "Nature" would not regard the article as
> >promoting H-1B, and conclude the opposite or the at the
> >report is even-handed.
> >
> >I'd suggest that the existance of these Nature articles
> >would leave Brian Hoyle's market to 'sell' a balanced, let
> >alone "anti" article pretty sparse. I'd presume that you
> >aren't advocating he write another sycophantic "pro"
> >article, as if we're not saturated already.
> I'm suggesting an in depth article, not your typical "he said/she said" that
> passes a journalism these days. I'm talking about one where the journalist
> verifies what "he said" is true before printing it.
> John - N8086N
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Dr. Derek R. Oliver - SPM Group
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering,
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

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