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Hastings Cent Rep. 2017 Mar;47(2):page inside front cover. doi: 10.1002/hast.678.

Facts, values, and journalism.


At a time of fake news, hacks, leaks, and unverified reports, many people are unsure whom to believe. How can we communicate in ways that make individuals question their assumptions and learn? My colleagues at The Hastings Center and many journalists and scientists are grappling with this question and have, independently, reached the same first step: recognize that facts can't be fully understood without probing their connection to values. "Explaining the basics is important, of course, but we also need to diversify our approach to the coverage of science-particularly as it intersects with the matrix of cultural, religious, social, and political values of our readers," said an article in Undark, an online magazine of science journalism. An editorial in Nature called for scientists to engage directly with citizens in debates over climate change and genome editing, noting that "the ethical issues can be critically dependent on the science, for example, in understanding where the boundaries between non-heritable and heritable genome modifications might be." We're here to help.

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