July 4, 2019 9:00 pm

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dan Rather Explore the Future of Journalism

On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, we turn our attention towards the world of journalism once more. If you haven’t checked out our episode The Evolution of Journalism, with Katie Couric, it shares very similar DNA (and people) as the new one this week.

Brandon Royal’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dan Rather.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dan Rather. Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.

Journalism is a subject that’s of great importance to me. Having studied Broadcast Journalism in school, and now working as a science writer, I’m always trying to carve out the best words to use in order to blend the exciting with the factual. But does truth even matter in our world today? Some seem less hopeful than others.

In addition to interviewing legendary journalist Dan Rather, host Neil  deGrasse Tyson is joined in-studio by comic co-host Paula Poundstone, journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, and data scientist Mona Chalabi to break down the state of journalism today. You’ll learn about the evolution of news in the digital age. We discuss the shift from two or three networks providing news to the onslaught of news programming that spans our airwaves today. We ponder whether having more news sources is a good or bad thing. You’ll hear about balancing entertainment value and news value and why some “news” programs are just entertainment.

Jeff emphasizes that transparency might be the new objectivity. We explore the importance of teaching and promoting civility as well as telling the truth. Dan weighs in on the current administration’s war against the Fourth Estate. Find out more about the important role that science and data play in impactful reporting. Dan tells us why he thinks President Nixon might be the reason our nation’s interest in the space program evaporated.

Paula leads us in two games: “Defeat the Press” – where we guess which world leader is attributed to an anti-press quote, and “Bullshi* from Brass Tax” – where we guess what portion of society believes in certain pseudoscientific ideas floating in the zeitgeist. All that, plus Dan shares details about his former dream of being the first journalist on Mars. Lastly, Bill Nye shows us how the process of reporting is very similar to the process of science.

Please join us tomorrow night for Telling It Like It Is, with Dan Rather at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
-Ian Mullen