Eureka – Times launches science magazine

The Times of London is ramping up its science coverage with a monthly magazine on science and the environment called Eureka.

eurekaThe magazine will be included in the Times for UK readers and luckily for the rest of us is being made available in a rather nice e-zine format. The Times has a long tradition of science coverage, appointing its first journalist to cover the beat in 1911.

As the paper points out here, it has covered some of the big scientific discoveries of all time – from a letter by Alfred Nobel explaining the properties of nitro-glycerine published in the Times in 1867 to a Times exclusive on Marconi’s first trans-Atlantic telegraph transmission in 1902.

But as strong as the Times has been in science and environment reporting, its rival The Guardian which has established a reputation as the leading newspaper for science and environment coverage. The launch of Eureka seems to be an attack on that mantle.

The first issue of Eureka looks great – the writing, design and overall presentation is of very high quality. I’ll look forward to reading it each month.

Would a monthly science magazine, folded into one of the country’s major newspapers, work here in New Zealand? Somehow I doubt it. There seems to be little appetite among a struggling print media here to expand specialist sections. I tried for years to interest the Herald in launching a dedicated technology magazine that could be folded into the Herald when I was technology editor on the paper.

There were plenty of similar tabloid-sized tech supplements successfully running in Australian papers at the time, and tech was a sitter for grabbing advertising from consumer electronics and IT vendors, but the Herald wasn’t interested. I doubt the proposition would be any more attractive when it comes to science, sadly.

Eureka’s maiden editorial, which essentially suggests we have two choices in our approach to using science to help tackle the world’s problems in the next few decades, is worth a read:

“The first option, a self denying one, takes us backwards, a retreat from technology and the wealth that has come from it. The second, more uncertain, path marches forward into a world saved by science. The success of this choice depends on the brains of our scientists, the will of our politicians and the hearts of our citizens”.

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