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Monday, 22 December 2008

WFSJ fights CNN cuts in science writing

The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) has posted a letter on its web site complaining about "CNN's shortsighted decision to cut its science, technology and environment unit in one fell swoop".

The letter, Science Journalists mobilized to fight CNN decision, is addressed to CNN. Pallab Ghosh, BBC science correspondent and past chairman of the ABSW, signed the letter on behalf of the WFSJ. Other signatories are from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, the US National Association of the Science Writers and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

They say that "It is difficult for us to imagine why CNN, which has earned a justifiably strong reputation for its science journalism in the past, has opted to widen the gap in science coverage rather than strive to fill it." They hold up CNN's action as "an unfortunate symbol of recent widespread cutbacks in specialty science journalism".

"In wielding this ax," the letter says, "your network has lost an experienced and highly regarded group of science journalists at a time when science coverage could not be more important in our national and international discourse." The "the wholesale dismantling of the science unit," decision, they add, " calls into question CNN's commitment to bringing the most informative science news to the general public, including the science-minded younger audience".

The WFSJ's blog item also has several links to other web coverage of the decision.