Top | Newsletter 2012

Culinate Newsletter September 12

(mailing, James Berry)

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 h1. Dear readers,
 A recent Sift item on Culinate highlighted a problem with reports of scientific studies, especially, perhaps, ones about food and nutrition: Often we — journalists and lay people alike — lack the ability to interpret a given study's complicated data. But that doesn't stop us from trying. 

 Writes managing editor Caroline Cummins, who penned the Sift: "And it’s not just the media who simplify and sensationalize the science; it’s the universities, companies, and other organizations that pay for the research in the first place."
 Caroline was not writing about the recent Stanford University study on organic food, but she might have been. The headlines prompted by that study focused on a supposed lack of health benefits from organic foods. However, a close look revealed that there was more to the study than that quick takeaway, and many promptly pointed out the discrepancies in those easy-to-sum-up headlines.

 As I read today's headline from the Cornucopia Institute —  "Stanford’s 'Spin' on Organics Allegedly Tainted by Biotechnology Funding" — I thought of Caroline's Sift. Here she quotes a Canadian journalist, Peter McKnight, writing in the Vancouver Sun — and his words rang especially true to me:

 "The public is, of course, the loser in this. For when people constantly hear dramatic claims made about virtually everything they eat or do . . . they can very easily become inured to … headlines … But scientists — and more importantly, science — are also losers. For just as the media lose public trust when they present sensationalized stories, so scientists and science risk a similar fate when scientists or their employers sensationalize the results of research. And a tremendously ironic fate that would be, for science doesn’t need to be sensationalized; it’s sensational enough on its own."

 Kim Carlson
 Editorial Director

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story1id: 405910
story1text: "Jacob Grier is bullish on the potential of aquavit in the U.S. — especially now that domestic distillers are producing their own versions of the classic."
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story2text: "In Nicole Bokat's household, everything changed when her son Spencer discovered the Food Network — but now it's about to change again."

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recipe1text: "From Annie Somerville comes this sweet and peppery salad, perfect for making right now."
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recipe2text: "Tessa Kiros embellishes the season's plums with traditional Italian cookies and sweet-scented wine."

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