Tuesday, May 23, 2006

San Diego Paper Had It First

A national story earlier this month involving the resumption of the human embryo cloning at UC San Francisco is a good example of how the media works – or doesn't work.

The case in point was a piece in the Wall Street Journal that said UC San Francisco was going to restart its program. The story was a follow on a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, which is obviously read by Journal reporters.

What neither story pointed out was that it was a bit of old news. Reporter Terri Somers of the San Diego Union-Tribune actually had it on Jan. 11, but the San Diego paper is not one that is regularly examined by reporters and editors of national publications or for that matter the San Francisco Chronicle. Her story said,
"California scientists are planning to jump into the field of cloning human embryonic stem cells now that a South Korean scientist who claimed to have mastered the technique has been exposed as a fake."
She focused primarily on research efforts in San Diego, which is a hot bed of stem cell research, mentioning the San Francisco effort deep in her story.

The episode is a good illustration of the tunnel vision of national news gathering organizations -- not just the WSJ -- which rarely detect what is happening outside of what they perceive as the major news centers.

The California Stem Cell Report carried an item in January on Somers' story but also failed to note specifically the UC San Francisco effort. We thank patent attorney Lawrence Ebert for pointing out Somers' work to us. Sphere: Related Content

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