The first answer is “No”. I mean, whatever you’re writing about, the onus is on the writer to break his subject down to its simplest components, and then put them back together in front of the reader’s eyes. If the writer fails to do that, then the blame can’t be placed on the subject.
It so happens that the blame can be placed on the writer’s choice of subject. Again, the fault is the writer’s, but what do you when the subject is important and ought to be written about because some recent contribution to it makes up a piece of history? Sure, the essentials are the same: read up long and hard on it, talk to people who know it well and are able to break it down in some measure for you, and try and use infographics to augment the learning process.
But these methods, too, have their shortcomings. For one, if the subject has only a long-winded connection to phenomena that affect reality, then strong comparisons have to make way for weak metaphors. A consequence of this is that the reader is more misguided in the long-term than he is “learned” in the short-term. For another, these methods require that the writer know what he’s doing, that what he’s writing about makes sense to him before he attempts to make sense of it for his readers.
This is not always the case: given the grey depths that advanced mathematics and physics are plumbing these days, science journalism concerning these areas are written with a view to make the subject sound awesome, enigmatic, and, sometimes, hopefully consequential than they are in place to provide a full picture of on-goings.
Sometimes, we don’t have a full picture because things are that complex.
The reader is entitled to know – that’s the tenet of the sort of science writing that I pursue: informational journalism. I want to break the world around me down to small bits that remain eternally comprehensible. Somewhere, I know, I must be able to distinguish between my shortcomings and the subject’s; when I realize I’m not able to do that effectively, I will have failed my audience.
In such a case, am I confined to highlighting the complexity of the subject I’ve chosen?
The part of the post that makes some sense ends here. The part of the post that may make no sense starts here.
The impact of this conclusion on science journalism worldwide is that there is a barrage of didactic pieces once something is completely understood and almost no literature during the finding’s formative years despite public awareness that important, and legitimate, work was being done (This is the fine line that I’m treading).
I know this post sounds like a rant – it is a rant – against a whole bunch of things, not the least-important of which is that groping-in-the-dark is a fact of life. However, somehow, I still have a feeling that a lot of scientific research is locked up in silence, yet unworded, because we haven’t received the final word on it. A safe course, of course: nobody wants to be that guy who announced something prematurely and the eventual result was just something else.