Virginia Heffernan Is Our Target Audience

There’s a great post at NeuroDojo on the Heffernan business this weekend, and what the take-away ought to be:

Yeah, let’s criticize that she didn’t get past the first impression of science blogs. We should expect Heffernan to look before leaping – she writes for the Times, after all, which still has a certain reputation as a paper of record and quality. But let’s not pretend that her impression ain’t shared by anyone else.

For instance, she took heat for recommending a climate denialist blog. But that’s not the first time that blog got recommended by people who ought to know better. That tells me there’s something we can learn there.

When we read Heffernan’s piece, we don’t like it. She was bound to get a lot of, “You don’t know what you’re talking about” (which, like I said, she earned). But she’s not getting as much, “Would you like to learn?”

I’d go even a bit further than that. I would say that if the goal of science blogging is to communicate science to a general audience, Virginia Heffernan is our target audience, and her negative reaction ought to make us stop to think about what it is we’re doing.

Continue reading “Virginia Heffernan Is Our Target Audience”