Reply To: Covid: pick a side

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There’s also an issue here about format. Video and podcasts are essentially best suited to entertainment – in a broad sense that includes documentary films etc. Yes, you can get an overview of an issue from a documentary film, but to really study and discuss issues, you need written material with tabulated and graphed data; “printed” is out of date, but the material needs to be static so that you can consider it in your own time, checking and cross-referencing to other sources. You can study from video, eg. by making notes, pausing when a graph is displayed, and occasionally rewinding a few seconds to check if you really understood the last sentence, but it’s far from convenient.

Unfortunately, video and podcast are well suited to promoting a particular case in a convincing way; the producer has default control of the viewer or listener’s attention, certain points can be emphasised and others glossed over or not raised at all.

At the opposite end of the spectrum we have scientific papers, in which a format has been agreed upon and developed specifically to enhance comprehensibility and critical analysis. Overview, methods, results and discussion are all clearly separated, and all citations listed.