“Usefully skeptical science journalism”

Dean Eckles writes:

I like this Wired piece on the challenges of learning about how technologies are affecting us and children.

The journalist introducing a nice analogy (that he had in mind before talking with me — I’m briefly quoted) between the challenges in nutrition (and observational epidemiology more generally) and in studying “addictive” technologies.

He also gets how important it is to think about the magnitude of effects.

Perhaps an example of usefully skeptical science journalism? There are some little bits that aren’t quite right (“They need randomized controlled trials, to establish stronger correlations between the architecture of our interfaces and their impacts”) but that’s to be expected.

I have nothing to add except that I think it’s best to identify the author of the article, in this case it’s Robbie Gonzalez. Calling it a “Wired piece” doesn’t seem quite right. I wouldn’t like it if someone referred to one of my papers as “an article in the Journal of the American Statistical Association” without crediting me! This general issue has come up before; see for example the final paragraph in this post from 2006.

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