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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ethics in the News – Oct. 27

The World Health Organization said Monday the scientific link between processed meats and cancer is definitive. In the next breath, the organization said there’s strong evidence that red meat causes cancer.

As this article explains, the WHO put processed meat in the same carcinogenic category as tobacco. That means the strength of the evidence that processed meat causes cancer is firmly established. It doesn’t mean the cancer-causing effect of tobacco is the same as that of processed meat.

But, this TIME article said that ham and arsenic are equally dangerous:

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There’s been plenty of bad science journalism this week. And, it’s not just this week. Science 2.0 called out science journalism just last week for failing to cover studies that mitigate the splashy earlier studies that make headlines.

Science journalism is a balance between using exact language and understandable language. And, some organizations are aiming to help improve those efforts.

Deborah Blum and Tom Zellner this week announced plans for “Undark,” a new science journalism magazine. They said a goal is quality science journalism in a new iteration of Knight’s Tracker blog.

Meanwhile, Science Surveyor was announced late last week as a new tool to help science journalists accurately communicate new scientific studies on deadline.

In other journalism ethics news:


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