Heard on Campus: Dan Vergano, senior USA Today science reporter

April 08, 2013

"Digital news is dead because people aren't willing to pay for it. But people will pay 99 cents to view a story on a smartphone. How are we going to deliver science news to people on the smartphone? It is going to have to be in one-minute videos. We are looking at the development of a two-tiered future for news on the smartphone -- one for people who can afford to pay 99 cents for each full story and the other for those who can't."

"What is happening in a science story is a lot harder to communicate in a one-minute video than the latest discovery of a giant squid. If there were a simple solution to climate change, for example, we would not have gotten ourselves into this mess. A video of a regular guy like an oyster farmer pulling up a dead oyster may be how we deliver science news about the effect of climate change in the smartphone age."

"There are only 12 environmental reporters at the top five newspapers in the country. The professionalism of the science-writing profession is being compromised because science reporters are being forced out of staff positions and into freelancing. How are we going to deliver science news if we don't have science reporters? Is it good enough if we just give people pictures of giant squid?"

-- Dan Vergano, senior science writer for USA Today and 1990 Penn State aerospace engineering alumnus, who gave the 2013 A. Dixon and Betty F. Johnson Lecture in Scientific Communication on April 6 in Thomas Building on Penn State's University Park Campus. A video of his lecture, titled "Science News in the Digital Age: A Brave New World," will be archived online at http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2013-news/Vergano3-2013.

  • Dan Vergano

    USA Today's Dan Vergano will deliver the 2013 A. Dixon and Betty F. Johnson Memorial Lecture in Scientific Communication on April 6.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015