The Differences Between Journalism and Scholarship

Some journalists, like Gary Taubes, are so scholarly that it’s easy to forget the gulf that separates journalistic from academic writing. I’m afraid I see comments on listservs that indicate some teachers do not quite know the difference. Here’s an egregious example, an attempt to spice up a topic. In the NYT magazine article on intelligence and IQ, two very different things, the opening paragraph has this sentence:
“…. hoping to do what was, until recently, considered impossible: increase their intelligence through training.”
If recently means in the last one hundred years, I might consider the possibility, but I am 71 and have considered the possibility of increasing intelligence through training since I was in high school (1950s). I have read books on the topic and participated in on-line discussions, quite heated, about the topic. There’s the Flynn effect, and that’s been around for a long time (whatever a long time is), and The Bell Curve controversy in the 90s.
Perhaps I am regarded as persnickety or pedantic for being upset over reading stuff like this, but when you sit in a teachers’ lounge and hear the ignorances traded back and forth and realize that those ignorances inform the teachers’ teaching and therefore affect children, it just has to rankle.

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