Daniel Greenberg, science journalism pioneer who shaped Science’s News part, dies at 88 | Science
Daniel Greenberg, a journalist who pioneered protection of the intersection of science and politics and was an influential early chief of Science’s News part, died on 9 March at his dwelling in Washington, D.C., at the age of 88. Greenberg had been in in poor health well being since sustaining a fall in late December 2019, in accordance with The New York Times.
In 1961, Greenberg grew to become the second journalist employed by Science to “cover political events that involved science,” he recalled throughout an interview in 1986. “I had by no means heard of Science journal earlier than that, and we determined we’d strive one another out for a month and see how we preferred it.” Howard Margolis, a journalist who had established the News part, left quickly after Greenberg arrived. “So, I was there by myself,” he recalled. He grew to become the part’s editor and lead reporter, and “stayed for 10 years.”
During that interval, Greenberg helped pioneer protection of the federal authorities’s burgeoning analysis enterprise—particularly the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—and the usually fierce coverage debates over funding priorities and regulation of rising applied sciences, comparable to supersonic passenger plane. Greenberg, who had labored in Congress as a congressional fellow of the American Political Science Association, delivered to his reporting a complicated understanding of congressional machinations, in addition to a considerably skeptical view of the analysis group’s pleadings for funding and guarantees of breakthroughs. His reporting differed markedly from the boosterish, “gee-whiz” tone that typified a lot mainstream protection of science at the time. Journalists who coated science had been typically good at translating discoveries to the general public, Greenberg mentioned in 1986, however “they will not usually concern themselves … with the social, economic, or moral implications, or … if [a] treatment were generally available it would raise the health bill of the country such and such.”
“Mr. Greenberg pretty well invented a new way to cover big science—as a form of government spending no different, in budgetary terms, from defense procurement or agricultural support,” The Economist wrote in 2002.
“Greenberg … greater than every other man on Science has helped to construct its circulation to an all-time excessive of 160,000,” The Washington Post reported when he left Science in 1970. “[H]e wrote and directed numerous exclusives on the science beat.”
Greenberg subsequent based the Science & Government Report, a publication that had an affect disproportionate to its subscription listing, which by no means exceeded a number of thousand. The publication was broadly learn by Washington, D.C., policymakers, college leaders, and journalists. Its protection of institutional developments and congressional hearings typically had an arch, bemused tone. Reporting on one Senate listening to on a sophisticated funding subject, Greenberg wrote that one senator appeared clueless, however “read reasonably well from a list of questions prepared by her staff.” At instances, Greenberg mused on which member of the congressional spending panels that set NIH’s finances could be the subsequent to have a constructing named after them on the company’s campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Greenberg bought the publication in 1997, and it later ceased publishing.
For a long time, Greenberg delighted many readers together with his interviews of Dr. Grant Swinger, a fictional character he created when at Science. In a 1965 column, Swinger was launched as head of the Breakthrough Institute, “a analysis institution devoted solely to fulfilling the general public demand for scientific breakthroughs. We are the shock troops of science. … [W]e have been capable of report back to the general public and granting businesses a broad number of imminent breakthroughs.” Later, Swinger grew to become the top of the Center for the Absorption of Federal Funds, and Greenberg collected his musings and recommendation in The Grant Swinger Papers, a 1983 ebook.
Greenberg additionally wrote extra critical tomes, together with The Politics of Pure Science, revealed in 1968, and Science for Sale: The perils, rewards, and delusions of campus capitalism, revealed in 2007.
Many leaders of the scientific group had a love-hate relationship with Greenberg. They winced once they had been the targets of his writing, however in addition they consumed his work with gusto. Yesterday’s obituary of Greenberg in The New York Times closes with an anecdote that captures the respect that many Washington, D.C., insiders had for the journalist. “At a party marking the sale of [his newsletter] in 1997, a medical researcher gave Mr. Greenberg a book along with a letter saying the gift was ‘a token of my respect and admiration for you in the extraordinary job that you have done,’” studies Cornelia Dean, a former editor of The New York Times science part. “The letter was signed by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, right now the federal authorities’s prime infectious illnesses skilled and the scientific face of the White House’s coronavirus process power.”