[Taxacom] Fwd: Nature needs names: 60 new dragonflies from Africa

Peter Halasz list at pengo.org
Fri Dec 11 19:13:29 CST 2015

"Hear they found a new weevil species in Washington?"

"Oh, I don't care. I just read about the 60 new dragonfly species in Africa
so I've heard enough about insects for the next month."

This is the conversation people don't have.

Sorry I'm new to this list and trying to follow along. What you're saying
is that we should collectively hold our tongues about 60 newly discovered
dragonflies in Africa because someone in New Zealand discovered 95 new
beetles and someone else in Hawaii discovered 74 more, and didn't get any
coverage and what if someone else discovers, I don't know, 500 new weevils
in Washington tomorrow and the public is already so utterly bored of
hearing about insects because they were oversaturated by that African
dragonfly story they glossed over in a newspaper the other day that the
newspapers refuse to print the weevil story? What? Sorry?

There is more than a single new media outlet. Local media outlets will be
more interested in local discoveries. Media about species discoveries is
NOT limited to a single twitter feed or hashtag, and it would be awful if
it were. Not every media outlet is being asked to report on every global
discovery. Media outlets around the world could easily accommodate every
one of those three new species per day and it would be a drop in the ocean
of all the world's media coverage. The limiting factor is not news space or
journalists, it's entomologists who have interesting stories to tell about
their discoveries and who can tell those stories in an engaging way. The
more stories that get out there, the more news outlets will be encouraged
to pursue similar stories.

I don't see why there's such an effort here to minimize the discovery or to
shun the news coverage or to require some kind of ranking of the most
significant discoveries before the media is allowed to hear about it. It's
utterly counter productive and pointless.

I'm sorry that dragonflies are more popular than beetles, even if to an
entomologist "This dragonfly publication is essentially no different to any
other taxonomic publication", I'm sorry, but to the rest of the world 60
new brightly coloured dragonflies are more interesting than 600 brown
beetles. Regardless of their relative merits, that's no reason to not
communicate with the public. Do as much science communication as possible.
Leave it to journalists to decide what is and is not worth printing and
what their audience might engage with. Stop having these nonsensical
conversations in your head about how people read the news.

And really, Stephen? You think that drawing attention to deforestation is
being done by the author for their own benefit? Are you always a troll?

Peter Halasz

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