Faculty of 1000

Post-publication peer review

It’s a fine line…

Posted by stevepog on 16 September, 2009

We had a lot of welcome interest this morning on a press release, from the expected (New Scientist, LiveScience.com) to the unusual (Die Welt, Sueddeutsche Zeitung), which showed once again that a sexy title and the combination of money, pain and relationships still make attractive reading.

What we always hope is that the message doesn’t get lost due to over-enthusiasm on a journalist’s part for (what can often seem to them) an academic version of Katie and Peter (front page staples for their relationship, recent divorce and wild partying in the UK, thankfully lesser known across the rest of the globe).

Yes, the story did include a sexy angle: studies showed, in one example, that people with money in one hand will ignore social exclusion such as a lack of friends. The same went for those put under mild pain: a fistful of greenbacks helped take their mind off the fact their hand was submerged in hot water.  Conversely, those reminded of having spent money experienced the breadth of pain and social rejection.

The angle newspapers, blogs, the One Show (ha) will take obviously depends on what they think their audience will respond most to, so there’s no way I could make them follow exactly the same line as the press release. The hope is that reporters don’t try to work a certain celebrity couple into the story to give it an unnecessary tabloid slant.


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