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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 news clips related to this topic.

Science Friday

Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program, speaks with Science Friday host Ira Flatow about the current state of science journalism and the growing public distrust in science. “Science is a human enterprise,” says Blum. “We need to do full justice to that. And we need to allow people to see that science is people at work trying to understand the world around them.”

Scientific American

MIT researchers have found that lawyers prefer, and better understand, simplified texts, rather than legalese, reports Jesse Greenspan for Scientific American. “The researchers presented 105 U.S. attorneys with contract excerpts written in both “legalese” and plain English and tested their comprehension and recall for each,” explains Greenspan. “While the attorneys outperformed laypeople overall, they still found the legalese contracts harder to grasp than those written in plain English.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Emily Bobrow spotlights Laurel Braitman PhD '13 for her work teaching writing and communication skills to healthcare workers. “We need people who are trained in science and medicine to be able to tell stories about what matters in public health in a way that makes people listen,” says Braitman. “But to do that, they have to be in touch with what they really feel.”


Researchers at MIT have found that lawyers “have an easier time remembering legal documents written in simple English over those filled with so-called legalese,” reports Ed Cara for Gizmodo. “On average, for instance, lawyers scored 45% on a test that asked them to recall documents written in legalese, compared to the average 38% scored by nonlawyers,” explains Cara. “But the lawyers’ score also increased to over 50% when they were given the simplified version.”  

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Heitman highlights Prof. Alan Lightman’s book, “The Transcendent Brain: Spirituality in the Age of Science.” Heitman writes Lightman’s “gift for distilling complex ideas and emotions to their bright essence quickly wins the day.” He adds that Lightman “belongs to a noble tradition of science writers, including Oliver Sacks and Lewis Thomas, who can poke endlessly into a subject and, in spite of their prodding, or perhaps because of it, stir up fresh embers of wonder.”


Writing for Science, Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program, explores the growth of science journalism. Blum notes that in her view the most important contribution for science reporters is “to portray research accurately in both its rights and its wrongs and stand unflinchingly for the integrity of the story.”

Graduate student Jonny Sun is writing the script for a new movie called “Paper Lanterns,” which will blend live action and animation, reports Kevin Slane for

Radio Boston (WBUR)

Prof. Marcia Bartusiak speaks with Radio Boston’s Evan Horowitz about her book, “Dispatches from Planet 3.” Bartusiak explains that she was inspired to “take a new exciting finding and provide the backstory. All of these essays are taking something new - a new idea, a new discovery - and showing that it had an origin or a seed in the past.”

Fast Company

Researchers from MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute have developed a machine learning tool that can identify fake news, reports Steven Melendez for Fast Company. Melendez writes that the system “uses a machine learning technique known as support vector machines to learn to predict how media organizations will be classified by Media Bias/Fact Check.”


Laney Ruckstuhl of WBUR reports that William Corbett, a former writer-in-residence at MIT, passed away on August 10 at age 75. Corbett, an award-winning poet, is “credited with helping introduce avant-garde poetry to the region's literary scene,” writes Ruckstuhl.

The New Yorker

Prof. Junot Díaz contributed this essay to The New Yorker, which details his personal experience with childhood abuse and its long-lasting impact on him. “No one can hide forever. Eventually what used to hold back the truth doesn’t work anymore. You run out of escapes, you run out of exits, you run out of gambits, you run out of luck. Eventually the past finds you.”

The Atlantic

Prof. Thomas Levenson writes for The Atlantic about the response to author Andrea Wulf winning the Royal Society Insight Investment Book Prize. “Discounting a great work at the moment it earns one of science writing’s highest honors based on the gender of its creator is just one more barrier women science writers have to deal with that men don’t.”

Los Angeles Times

Prof. Junot Diaz speaks with Carolyn Kellogg of The Los Angeles Times about reading, writing, and racism. “Being around other readers and talking about reading and talking about the love of books is very natural,” says Diaz. “I sometimes think I became a writer as a pretext of being a full-time reader.” 

Financial Times

John McDermott of The Financial Times interviews Professor Junot Díaz about his childhood, his career as an author and teaching at MIT.