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In Part 1 of their interview, Neil, Miles and comic co-host Chuck Nice discuss the business of science news. You’ll learn what makes a good science-focused interview, from both sides of the microphone. You’ll find out why CNN started a science division – and why they shut it down. Miles explains the impact of “The Foxification of News” and journalists who make themselves the center of the story. He describes his journey from history major to science reporter, including an interview with CNN’s president who told him, “You don’t know sh*t about science.” Miles also shares his most memorable stories: reporting on the Columbia space shuttle disaster and covering John Glenn’s return to space with “co-anchor” Walter Cronkite. It’s an eye-opening journey beyond the headlines, into the business that decides the science – or lack of science – that gets reported to the rest of the world.
In the conclusion of Neil’s interview with veteran science journalist Miles O’Brien, the two discuss the inherent conflict between the goals of true journalism and corporate America. You’ll hear how Miles was finally able to convince CNN that the climate change debate was over, or at least, that both sides were not equivalent from a scientific point of view. He describes going to Spaceflightnow.com after CNN fired its entire science and technology division, because “after all, what do we know about the Kardashians.” Learn about the rise of “boutique journalism” in opposition to “Wal-Mart” journalism, and how journalistic integrity is most often found not on network or cable TV, but in family-owned newspapers and non-profits like PBS. Miles also recounts how the use of technology in journalism has evolved over the years, while in the studio, comic co-host Chuck Nice and Neil rip on the overuse of some of that technology, like 3-D holographic reporters in the 2-D medium of TV.