In the US, a new generation of science journalists are employing narrative techniques in their writing. What are the characteristics of this journalism? Why does it employ narrative techniques?
This article attempts to give some answers to these questions by drawing on studies of science and the media. I argue that literary science journalism is predominantly cast in a characteristic semi-narrative, coinciding with what has been regarded as the main aim of this journalism: a skilled translation of abstract knowledge assumed to have been developed by scientist sources.
In a comparative analysis of profiles of scientists written by the journalist John Horgan, I contrast his texts as they first appeared in the magazine Scientific American with later versions in his book The End of Science. The analysis sheds some light on how the different media provide different frames for the journalist’s literary portrayals of the scientists as well as different possibilities with regard to expressing a subjective and critical view on their scientific achievements.