Reporting on Science (Part 1) – extended with Elise Andrew of IFLS and Bill Nye

Walter Cronkite and Miles O’Brien covering STS-95 on October 29, 1998. Image Credit:

You Can Also Listen On

About This Episode

Now including a new 10 minute interview where Neil and Chuck are joined by Bill Nye the Science Guy and Elise Andrew of the popular Facebook page, I F***ing Love Science, with over 19 million Likes.

When it comes to science journalism, there are few reporters with as much experience as Miles O’Brien. 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.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Reporting on Science (Part 1) – extended with Elise Andrew of IFLS and Bill Nye.


In This Episode

Music in This Episode

Related Episodes

Episode Topics

  • Ash

    I was hoping Dawkins would be on this week. Seems this show is getting lazier every month.

  • Rose Harless

    Just wanted to let you know that the episode posted above is the interview with Miles O’Brian instead of the correct episode.

  • Rose Harless

    oh, sorry, nevermind.

  • startalkradio

    Ash, the StarTalk Live! with Richard Dawkins will likely be running in two parts (as many of our live shows do) in January. As to us “getting lazier” every month, that is just not true. We’ve put out more new episodes this season than any season so far (Season 1: 13 episodes, Season 2: 40 episodes, Season 3: 28 episodes, Season 4: 40 episodes, Season 5: 45 episodes and counting.) It is true that it can take us a longer time to convert StarTalk Live! events into podcasts than in previous years, but trust me, that has nothing to do with being lazy, and everything to do with a small staff devoted to producing the best content we are able to produce.

    • The majority of us think you do a fantastic job, and we thank you and Neil for providing this excellent show for free!

      • startalkradio

        On behalf of all involved in the show, thank you, Bill.

        • mryan150

          On behalf of all of us that listen, Thank you Star Talk.

    • Voicu

      Yes but back in season 2 and 3 for example you had way more interesting subjected to talk about…more science related. Now it’s all about interviews with science personalities and queries regarding certain subjects… ! I don’t mind these episodes.. they’re ok but I miss the good old startalk.

    • Voicu

      Yes but back in season 2 and 3 for example you had way more interesting subjected to talk about…more science related. Now it’s all about interviews with science personalities and queries regarding certain subjects… ! I don’t mind these episodes.. they’re ok but I miss the good old startalk.

  • Martin

    There is a wrong episode (The interview with Miles O’Brian).. Too bad that the one with Dawkins is not going to happen anytime soon.

    • startalkradio

      Not wrong, Martin. The extended content with Elise and Bill is at the end of the show.

      • Martin

        Thank you… I have found it at the end and enjoyed it! It is just that still about 80% of the episode as uploaded to the Soundcloud,is not exactly the advertised content and possibly an old episode from about 2 years ago? That still disturbs me a bit, but I’m glad that there is indeed at least about 10 minutes of a new content.

        • startalkradio

          Martin, I’m sorry, but we take matters of accuracy very seriously. Did you read the copy on the page that describes the episode? It is entirely accurate as advertised, as are our descriptions of the show on other channels like SoundCloud. It is not “possibly an old episode…” it is exactly an episode from earlier this year, as described, extended with a new interview as described.

          • Martin

            My apologies then, about the description: I think I focused entirely on the title and rather thought that I would be hearing only the “extended part” / only the new content which would be a continuation of the episode that was already broadcasted and not the whole old episode + the new content.

            I guess that the only thing which really disturbed me a tiny bit was that we were getting about 10-12 minutes of a new content this week instead of normal 45 minutes: and that the part of the old episode, we had heard already, is rebroadcasted again mainly for the reason, so we do not notice that this week we are getting only about 12 new minutes, not 45.

            (Not counting, that about everybody had been fervently looking forward for the Richard Dawkins interview for which however from reasons that only you know, we must wait another two months… I understand that some people can listen to this show live and that they have heard the interview already, but I’m from abroad (from Europe) and these web-versions is the only way I can get to it, hence my frustration.

            Nevertheless I really do enjoy your show, it is probably the best scientific podcast I know and it really boosted my knowledge immensely: Neil is really the perfect science communicator and I like the format!

          • Tired of the Ads

            They needed the Miles interview to make sure they had enough time to put in all of the ads for the podcast.

  • AW

    Just thought I’d weigh in on the drawn-to-death topic as a psychology major. People are drawn to situations surrounding the topic of death in hopes of obtaining any useful survival information. This is why we can’t help but stare when we drive by a car accident. We want to know what happened so we can learn from it.

  • Nicolai Astrup Haugli

    Listened to this fpe the first time today! Bloody brilliant!

  • What i want before i die, is to meet an Extra Terrestrial and exchange a conversation and learn as many truths about the universe as possible. I would even be willing to go on a tour in space if it were possible. See a quasar/black hole with my own eyes. That is my dream.

    • E.T.

      Ill take you.

    • Poma

      The little things in life.

    • Philipp

      hi 🙂

  • Poma

    You got served.

  • E.T.

    I wonder what percent of viewers are actually persuaded by the advertisements. I would assume many are non conformists or freethinkers. Just a thought. This isn’t necessarily a show where advertisements would work.

    • Philipp

      Everyone can be persuaded.

    • Samuele Arcidiacono

      These ads are targeted for the audience and I actually find them quite interesting.
      I even found myself typing those URLs, after the show.

  • I’m on the fence about IFLS. On one hand, they lead me to information that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. On the other hand, their writing is somewhat poor and they often spam my social media feeds with repeats of articles they have recently posted. Honestly, I have just been gathering all the sources they gather their articles from so that I can just cut them out as the middle man. I appreciate what they do, but I’d rather go straight to the source, which I end up doing anyways.

    • Roger

      I quit following them. They had some decent stuff but I found a lot of the headlines were nothing but click bait to garbage.

      • Yep, that is pretty much how I feel. It seems in the last two years, much of the internet has reverted to click bait. Maybe as they start to create their own content then will clean it up a bit. One can only hope.

  • Philipp

    The greenhouse effect is not compatible mit the second law of thermodynamics.

    • Huey Stewart

      Sure it does, the earth is not an isolated system. Entropy only occurs when not acted on by outside forces.

  • Detjen Haynes

    I suppose this episode explains this when you lack the person who can proof read and edit the information your going to look kinda dumb

  • I follow Elise on Facebook and she is great! I love her posts and I would really love to see more with her in these! I think I might start watching these, they’re fantastic! Thanks IFLS for bringing me here!

  • Pingback: Upsection – Where did all the science journalism go?()

  • uberfu

    Chuck NIce seems to come across as a hypocrite when they start talking about journalists discussing topics they have no experience or background in. He then comments about how there is no mystery behind how someone is uneducated on a subject – it’s called public school.

    Well Chuck – I went to public school and probably received a better education and am likely more knowledgeable and mroe intelligent than you are. There’s nothing wrong with public schools and I’ve known many idiots that went to private schools. Some of the smartest people areound are those that make due with what they are given. Several of my teachers in public school were teaching at a level higher than what was being presented at a college level. And when I entered college I was amazed at how dumbed down the content was in comparison.

    Be careful about what the hell you speak of – because it just might make you look like an idiot. Or were you acting like one to give the audience a demonstartion of the people being discussed ?

  • John Dillinger

    I love this show and all your hard work. Thank you for putting out a show every week.

You Can Also Listen On

Music in This Episode