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Paul Raeburn
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Paul Raeburn is a journalist and blogger, and the author of "Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked," to be published for Fathers Day, 2014. He is the chief media critic for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker and the author of three previous books, including, most recently, "Acquainted with the Night," a memoir of raising children with depression and bipolar disorder.

Raeburn was the science editor and chief science correspondent at the Associated Press for 15 years, and a senior editor and writer at BusinessWeek for seven years after that. He is the recipient of numerous journalism awards and fellowships, including the Science and Society Award, the AP Managing Editors Award for Excellence, and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at Stanford.

Entries by Paul Raeburn

Dads' Biological Clocks: The Risks Are Huge. Or Are They?

(0) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 5:41 PM

A study in the journal Bipolar Disorders two weeks ago found that the children of fathers 50 or older had three times the risk of having bipolar disorder compared to children of fathers 30-34 years old.

Bipolar disorder afflicts about 1 percent of the general population, so, in very...

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What Must Heroin Feel Like?

(22) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 2:15 PM

This post originally appeared at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

How good must heroin feel? Good enough to abandon three children? Good enough to abandon friends, other family members, professional colleagues, and a brilliant career?

I should be angry at Philip Seymour Hoffman for doing what he's...

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Divorce Corp.: Documentary Paints Horrific Picture of Intimidation, Collusion, and Excessive Billing in Family Courts

(46) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 3:12 PM

A man is jailed for criticizing a judge on his blog. Another is found in contempt of court for expressing frustration in private Facebook comments. An evaluator charges $7,500 for a single interview. Judges order divorcing parents to sell their homes. Lawyers contribute to judges' campaign funds to receive favorable...

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Radar Online Makes Big Mistake With Jenny McCarthy -- and Then Hits Delete

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 12:48 PM

Radar Online published a curious story Saturday that led with this: "Jenny McCarthy wants everyone to know that her son WAS diagnosed with autism and she’s never thought otherwise."

Excuse me, but didn't we know that? And why the emphasis on "was"?

That's because this story followed a Radar...

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Esquire: Don't Believe Its 'New Way of Killing Cancer'

(9) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 4:33 PM

(This post originally appeared at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.)


If you're looking for "a whole new way of killing cancer," don't turn to the journals. You'll find it in Esquire.


There Tom Junod and Mark Warren write about a scientist who says the difference...

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The Rolling Stone Cover: A Journalist's Thoughts on Tone, Appearances and Apologies

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 3:08 PM

The sympathetic photograph and cover language on the front of the new issue of Rolling Stone have provoked outrage from critics who say the magazine depicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bombing suspect, as if he were a rock star -- and a victim.

Underneath the portrait of Tsarnaev, the cover...

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Esquire Finds Reasons to Doubt Simon & Schuster's Proof of Heaven

(105) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 9:57 AM

Last October, I took Newsweek to task for its cover story "Heaven is Real," which purported to be a work of journalism. This was an excerpt from a book called Proof of Heaven, which, I predicted, would sell an enormous number of copies and make a lot of...

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Did Time Magazine Offer Favorable Coverage to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center?

(6) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 12:31 PM

As I pointed out in a recent postTime magazine's April 1 cover story, "How to Cure Cancer," is sure to raise false hopes among people grappling with cancer. It must also be devastating to those who have just lost someone to cancer, and who might now think that their...

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Pew Takes Overly Pessimistic Shot at the News Industry

(2) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 10:50 AM

A new report on the state of American journalism found "a continued erosion of news reporting resources" and " a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands."

Those were among the many disturbing...

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New York Times Cancels Green Blog to Dismay of Critics

(7) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 10:21 AM

Congratulations to Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism Review for sticking around late on a Friday afternoon to get a scoop, if an unfortunate one -- the New York Times, Brainard reports, has canceled its popular and important Green blog.

Politicians and government officials who want to hide bad news use the well-known...

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Disgraced Journalist Jonah Lehrer Talks About His Misdeeds; Wants to Earn Trust

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2013 | 4:30 PM

Standing beside a large screen displaying brutal comments on Twitter, the disgraced science writer Jonah Lehrer  today delivered a talk that seemed to be aimed primarily at rehabilitating his writing career, rather than offering any insights on his journalistic misdeeds. 

Lehrer was paid $20,000 for his talk by the Knight Foundation,...

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David Mamet's Newsweek Eruption: Another Reason We Need Solid Reporting on Guns

(57) Comments | Posted February 3, 2013 | 3:40 PM

When I called in a recent post for better reporting on gun control, I didn't realize how very desperately we would need it this week

Newsweek has put its respected brand name on a piece of unsubstantiated opinion the likes of which we haven't seen since Newsweek ran a similar...

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CBS Overrules Best-of-Product Choice by Its CNET Unit, Citing Litigation: A Case of Censorship?

(3) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 3:47 PM

Last week, about 40 members of the  CNET.com editorial staff met at the CES trade show in Las Vegas to select the website's official Best of CES product. They chose the Dish Hopper with Sling "because of innovative features that push shows recorded on DVR to iPads," according to...

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Esquire on Fracking: Prose That Could Blow Out a Wellhead

(15) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 11:58 AM

The January issue of Esquire is out with an almost 8,000-word story called "Thank You for Fracking" by Tom Chiarella, which wants to be a manly, Esquire-ish, ultrahip analysis of a current environmental policy debate. It falls far short of that. Chiarella has a point, but the overheated prose so...

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Gun Control Finally on the Agenda? Beware the Agenda

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 3:01 PM

It now appears that Washington will engage in a debate over gun control, and possibly go beyond a feckless "national conversation" and actually do something. Gun control is on the agenda: but beware who is controlling the agenda.

Much of the talk in the first two business days after the...

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Wall Street Journal: Never Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 2:58 PM

"Woke up with a hangover?" begins a story by Sumathi Reddy in the Wall Street Journal. It might be caused not by a martini but by "a range of unexpected foods, from cheese to pickles to citrus fruit," she writes.

Sounds interesting. How does that work? Not so well,...

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After Proof of Heaven, Now The New York Times Gives Us the Gift of Immortality

(21) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 11:39 AM

Only a few weeks after Newsweek and Simon & Schuster gave us proof of heaven,  The New York Times now offers us immortality in the form of an article entitled "Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?" It is now online and will appear as the cover story...

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Proof of Heaven, Neurosurgeon's Mystical Revelation, Climbs the Bestseller Lists

(216) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 11:50 AM

On Oct. 11 I wrote that the book Proof of Heaven, an account of a near-death experience by a neurosurgeon, reflected badly on its author, Eben Alexander, and on its publisher, Simon & Schuster, for allowing mystical belief, "visions" and religion to masquerade as science. I wrote then that...

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Nate Silver After the Election: The Verdict

(22) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 5:02 PM

Nate Silver's rational approach to politics seems to provoke highly irrational responses.

At Slate,  Daniel Engber  writes that Silver, author of the FiveThirtyEight blog at The New York Times, "appears to have hit the mark in every state -- a perfect 50 green M&Ms for accuracy." Engber links to

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In Defense of Nate Silver: Pundits Reveal Their Misunderstanding

(26) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 5:49 PM

I feel sorry for Dylan Byers, a media blogger at Politico, and, from what I read, an entertaining and competent writer.

I'm embarrassed for David Brooks, a conservative columnist at the New York Times and a smart guy who writes about human nature in addition to politics.

As for Joe...

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