Media quick fixes 1

April 27, 2007

A further problem with the lack of academics appearing as intellectuals in public view in the UK ("Academics told to push intellectual credentials", April 13) is the laziness of the television and radio journalists.

A couple of years ago, BBC Radio 4's Today programme featured an exhibition at the Design Museum at which London Underground maps took pride of place. Instead of approaching the world-class professor of semiotics Kecheng Liu, the BBC preferred his Reading University colleague Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics, who, while well-known to the media for his ability to pontificate on many subjects, is far less of an expert on the study of signs, symbols and communication than Liu.

Warwick is not principally to blame for agreeing to appear, rather it is the lazy journalists who go for the quick fix of a known academic with a vague connection to the subject instead of finding one with appropriate detailed knowledge.

Andrew Adams
Reading University

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