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LA Times Reporter Dodges Kraken Controversy

The list of media outlets called out by Wired contributor Brian Switek is long and illustrious. Each one of them, he charges, fell hook, line and sinker for archaeological evidence of a “Kraken monster” presented on Monday at a Geological Society of America conference in Minneapolis.

Switek was one of the first to complain about this failure of science journalism. Today, he continues to point a non-squid like finger at everyone from Fox News to the Christian Science Monitor, which picked up the story from syndicate partner LiveScience:

Maybe I have things entirely wrong, but the disagreement seems to stem from the fact that I called writers who re-wrote the press releases for news sites “reporters.”

This is an argument about definition. If you think a reporter is only a college-trained journalist who writes for a major magazine or newspaper, then our Dulcinea of science journalism remains safe from the kraken, but I feel that this contention misses the point and continues to perpetuate the hidebound notion that news only comes in print form via the New York Times or The Economist.

From a local media perspective, the good news is that the LA Times seems to have avoided fully “smoking the Kraken.” Per Switek, reporter Rene Lynch had the good sense to at least acknowledge the controversy surrounding the excavation site claims being made by Mark McMenamin and his wife Dianna. “Release… the Ombudsman!”

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