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I wrote to the editor of Nature News about the story "Sybil" did on 
Duncan Watts' work and received this response.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Correspondence to Nature
Date: 	Fri, 20 Jan 2006 11:29:15 -0000
From: 	Jones, Nicola <[log in to unmask]>
To: 	Jones, Nicola <[log in to unmask]>



Thank you for your correspondence about our column 'To be blunt'. This is a
note to let you know that we have received your comments and are taking them
into consideration. 
I continue to think, as many of our readers have agreed, that the attempt to
explain why scientific publications whose press releases or abstracts stress
very obvious results were published, and why the research they report on was
done, is worthwhile. I also believe that this is worth doing light
heartedly. 
I apologise if you felt the inaugural column held Duncan Watts up to
ridicule, which was not our intention. While we certainly meant to draw
light-hearted attention to one of the conclusions of the research, we also
pointed out how the work moved beyond the banalities of the press-release
headlines to reveal useful and interesting information. 
I would also like address Dr Watts' comments about the reporter's approach
to the story. We believe that it is not in general incumbent on a reporter
to spell out the nature of the article they are working on when talking to a
source. However, we have decided that when reporting future columns in this
series, we will include a specific description of the column's intent in our
initial approach to the subject.
[log in to unmask] is not aimed at the same readers as Nature itself, and it is
likely to be more experimental in its tone and its range. This does not mean
that we do not hold it to high standards; we do. But its purpose is not to
be part of a scientific journal of record. One area where the two
publications are indistinguishable, though, is in their respect for all
areas of science, including the social sciences.
 
Sincerely,
Nicola Jones
Editor, [log in to unmask]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nicola Jones BSc, MJ
Online news editor [log in to unmask]
www.nature.com/news
4 Crinan St, London N1 9XW, UK
telephone: +44 (0) 20 7843 4952
mobile: 07733 408 853 
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-- 
Bill Richards
Professor
School of Communication, Simon Fraser University 
8888 University Drive, Burnaby, B.C.  V5A 1S6,  Canada 
Phone: 604 291-4119, secretary: 604 291-3687, home: 604 251-3272
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