News dance: Bees do it. How about journalists?



It’s a complex world. How best to explain it?

That’s the challenge facing journalists — particularly those who cover the environment.

Technology increases our communication tools. But can we also use less techy techniques?

Like dance?

OK, it’s a whacky idea. But bear with me. First check out this video of a dance flash mob.

It’s not just any dance. The participants are interpreting the concept of superconductivity. That’s when disorganized electrons pair up and synchronize and flow freely and efficiently under super cold temperatures.

Make sure to watch the little thermometer in the lower left corner as the video progresses.


Now that’s a cool way of expressing something you might otherwise only be exposed to in a physics class. It’s also a cool way of learning about it.

If bees dance to tell their buddies where to find nectar and pollen, maybe we should try communicating other environmental issues to humans in a similar fashion.

I’m not saying that journalists need to add choreography to the increasing list of new skills they’re expected to master. But maybe there’s a collaboration here worth exploring.

What might be a subject worthy of such expression?

How about the action of endocrine disrupters? Those are the  chemicals – often pollutants – that  can interfere with the human endocrine system, causing developmental and other problems. That’s a subject with plenty of physical drama.

Can you dance an explanation of how that works?  I’d need a chemist to weigh in on that.

And a choreographer.

Where does the journalist fit in? Well, someone has to come up with the ideas, identify those with the skills to pull them off and provide the platform for their execution.

And you’ll notice that the superconductivity dance required explanation. That’s journalism.

So, can you dance the efforts of Asian carp trying to breach the electric barrier at Chicago? How about the fate of rare plants bulldozed for beachfront development? Or the impact of oil gushing from a pipeline breach?

Got an idea? You tell me.

Just don’t expect me to do the dance.

But check out these bees:

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