“The job of translating Scientese into English (or whatever is the local language) has traditionally been done by professional science journalists. Unfortunately, most science journalists (hats off to the rare and excellent exceptions) are absolutely awful about it. They have learned the journalistic tools, but have no background in science. They think they are educated, but they only really know how to use the language to appear they are educated. Fortunately for everyone, the Web is allowing scientists to speak directly to the public, bypassing, marginalizing and pushing into extinction the entire class of science "journalists" because, after all, most scientists are excellent communicators. And those who are, more and more are starting to use blogs as a platform for such communication.
[I]n science journalism, there exist out there people with real expertise - the scientists themselves - who now have the tools and means to bypass you and make you obsolete because you cannot add any value any more.”
He than bashes around a bit on George Johnson and John Horgan, and ends with saying
“Perhaps if we remove those middle-men and have scientists and the public start talking to each other directly, then we will have the two groups start talking to each other openly, honestly and in an informal language that is non-threatening (and understood as such) by all. The two sides can engage and learn from each other. The people who write ignorant, over-hyping articles, the kinds we bloggers love to debunk (by being able to compare to the actual papers because we have the background) are just making the entire business of science communication muddled and wrong. Please step aside.”Well, there is two things I have to say about that.
For one, as far as I am concerned most scientists are not particularly good writers (I include myself in that) and since I appreciate a piece of good writing I sincerely hope professional journalism will prevail. Having acquired the necessary skills and appropriate education certainly helps to this matters. I don't know what Bora's standards are, but I find the vast majority of science blogs not particularly well written (YOU obviously belong to the minority of brilliant writers).
Second, reporting by scientists about their own research is always bound to be biased, and an important task of journalists is to provide an objective outside view. This might not always work out to the scientists' favour. John Horgan eg is certainly known for his cynical view on some branches of science, and it is of little surprise some scientists are put off by this. But such criticism fulfils an important function in disconnecting topics from people who are their direct originators, much like editorials in newspapers are not generally written by politicians.
I am not saying that science journalism presently is fulfilling this task very well (see eg earlier post Fact or Fiction?, and When Capitalism Fails for why this is the case), but it has its place and I think we need it. Science blogs can certainly contribute to communicating science, by providing the details that journalists don't cover - details about the research or also the life as researcher. But leaving science journalism completely over to bloggers is not a good idea.