About This Episode
On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with legendary American news anchor Dan Rather to explore the news in the digital age. Neil is joined in-studio by first-time comic co-host Paula Poundstone, journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, and data scientist Mona Chalabi to help investigate the future of journalism.
First, Neil and Dan try and figure out what can now be defined as “journalism.” We discuss the shifting landscape from two to three main networks to the overcrowded airwaves of today. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? How do news organizations balance entertainment value with news value? Jeff explains why some news programs are just entertainment programs in disguise. And, Jeff tells us why civility is needed in order to have productive discussions and debates.
You’ll hear why transparency is the new objectivity. Find out more about the current administration’s war against the press. Dan tells us why he thinks the United States is in a decisive battle for the “soul of the country.” Paula leads us in two games: “Defeat the Press” and “Bullshi* from Brass Tax.”
Discover more about the role of science and data in impactful reporting. We also explore why science has been integral to the United States becoming a leading nation. We take a look back on the Space Race and ask, “Is fear the best motivator for a society?” Dan tells us why he thinks President Nixon might be the reason that the United States lost its drive for space exploration and the great irony in Nixon’s dislike for space travel.
We ponder whether we are now living in a post-truth age, or headed into one. You’ll learn why it has become difficult to predict the future of journalism. You’ll also hear about Dan’s early dreams to become the first journalist on Mars. Dan gets to ask Neil his own Cosmic Query about nuclear fusion. Lastly, Bill Nye shares why the reporting process is similar to the scientific process. All that, plus, Neil gives us the evolution of news through the cosmic perspective.
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: News in the Digital Age, with Dan Rather.