BetterBio empowers all of us to explore, investigate and direct the science, ethics and political economy of the biotechnology industry.
BetterBio provides the forum and tools for in-depth, investigative biotechnology reporting and analysis, empowering communities to discuss, dissect and analyze the economic, environmental and cultural effects of the biotech industry. By more directly connecting the boardroom and the research lab to national discussion of bio-innovations, BetterBio will tell biotechnology stories that would not otherwise be told to audiences that would not otherwise be considered, bridging the gap between the knows and the know-nots.
Simply put, biotechnology is the scientific manipulation of life. Biotechnology research drives our economy, our access to energy, our food supply and our health care system. And yet, aside from glorified press releases, the subject rarely enters the mainstream media. When it does, it is usually only when there is a health and safety crisis, an investment opportunity or a religious protest. When its findings are reported on in the mainstream media, they are “breakthroughs,” “miracle cures” or “shocking findings” – with each study contradicting the last. No wonder less than half of Americans think that the benefits of this research outweigh the harms. Yet, with or without our buy-in, biotechnology is rapidly growing in influence and impact. For example, roughly 70% of the food consumed in America now has at least one genetically modified (GM) ingredient. Here in the U.S., none of these foods are required to have labeling that they are GM, and journalists in today's newsrooms lack the resources to follow the industry and check. We believe all of us deserve to know what is being done to our bodies, our food and our environment, so we can make informed, reasoned choices in our own interests.
BetterBio will deliver meaningful, accessible news about biotechnology and its impact on our lives. To that end, BetterBio makes the following commitments:
1. BetterBio will facilitate public conversations about what information you need to know, how to best learn about it, and how to get involved in telling the story.
2. BetterBio will cover the most relevant fields within biotechnology--including biomedicine, agricultural biotech and biofuel--with rigor and objectivity. We will explore these fields critically through environmental, economic and social lenses.
3. BetterBio will keep the principles of transparency and honesty at the forefront of our decisions concerning the editorial process, our funding sources, and the technology we use.
4. BetterBio will partner with complimentary publications, businesses and organizations to achieve our goals, unless doing so would knowingly contradict our mission.
5. BetterBio will establish its own set of best practices for reporting on the life sciences. We will constantly refine those practices so we can teach them to others and democratize science journalism.
6. BetterBio will cite to and identify primary sources whenever feasible, except where doing so would lead to significant economic, physical or emotional harm. We will be accountable to our audience.
BetterBio was founded by Khadijah Britton, a journalist, lawyer and MPH Candidate at Boston University. Ms. Britton has expertise in patent law, biologic economics, biodiversity and the health and safety implications of biotechnology research. In her own words:
“I did not grow up dreaming to one day wear a lab coat. When I won the science fair my freshman year of high school, I expressed my surprise to the sponsor of the fair. 'I'm a writer,' I explained, at which he brightened: 'Great! Do you want a job?' Thus began my career in science-based reporting, as a columnist in his biomedical company's newsletter. Over the years, I realized my obsession with translating between this industry and the general public is rare – and underfunded. It is also personal. The knowledge imbalances and health disparities that inspired BetterBio were the same ones that led my mother to innocently follow doctor's orders, giving me round after round of antibiotics when I was young. Since I was fourteen, I have spent most of my life fighting antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, sometimes missing school for months at a time. I am dedicated to helping others avoid such medically unnecessary fates, and to empowering them as agents that create a healthy world.”
BetterBio’s Role in our Future
BetterBio gives us the tools to discern fact from fiction while exploring our yearnings and anxieties about the pace and result of "progress." Inspired by the question “How can we make biotechnology better for all of us?” BetterBio provides the forum for journalists to explore biological innovation, engaging with the difficult but fascinating economic, environmental and cultural effects of this multifaceted science, and giving you a front row seat to the future. We believe that knowledge is not only powerful - it is essential. Please join us if you agree.