‘Twas Brillig in the Deepwater Marcellus

My science-for-the-common-wo(man) journalistic future is now secure. I’ve found the exact sure-fire formula, offered by The Lay Scientist / Martin Robbins / guardian.co.uk. I sort of intuited that this Cosmic Pattern existed Out There somewhere, but to have it before me is, well, the Rosetta Stone to future form of screeds, rants and whining here at Fragments from Floyd! And I will let Mr. Robbins enlighten…

In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.

In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.

If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.

This paragraph elaborates on the claim, adding weasel-words like “the scientists say” to shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist. [Read more…]

[There is, of course, much more to Mr. Robbin’s science-essay template, as a certain quantity of verbiage must be generated to establish credibility and expertise, with the knowledge that the typical web or newsprint reader will give it up after the first four terse paragraphs, so everything beyond that can be some permutation of the poem Jabberwocky and nobody will notice or care.]

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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