Reviews Press

Big thrusters

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 30 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:800
  1. Sally Carter, technical editor (
  1. BMJ

    …or how to get people to read popular science stories

    If you found yourself drawn in by the headline to this article you are not alone. Apparently “big thrusters” are two of the most popular words in headlines, along with “rocket,” “gun,” and “explosion,” for attracting men to read New Scientist. In a speech entitled “Frankenstein researchers create bunny monster” (a headline taken from a newspaper story), Alun Anderson, a researcher, writer, publisher, and former editor in chief of New Scientist, told the Royal Institution last week why science reporting in the popular press can drive scientists crazy, and about the pressures on the editors of magazines, journals, and newspapers.

    Portraying science in the media is not easy. Publishers wanting mores sales and advertising, a demanding readership, journalists competing for space and working to tight deadlines, and scientists themselves make for a complex mix of pressures.

    Newspapers, journals, and magazines …

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