The Media, Novelty and Healthy Life Extension

A short comment caught my eye in a post on that recent research into the gene p16INK4A, aging and cancer:

This ought to be front-page news: I can't quite seem to figure out [why] Aubrey De Grey and company hasn't been interviewed a dozen times this week...

The culture of mainstream media has some interesting quirks when it comes to novelty; journalists are always chasing the superficially new. If there is no aspect of a story that can be spun as new in some way, the level of interest drops dramatically. Biomedical gerontologist and healthy life extension advocate Aubrey de Grey has been interviewed and quoted many times in the past year - so that is now done and done in most media circles until some new twist is presented.

Part of the skillset inherent in success as an advocate (and even more so for public relations folk in the corporate and research worlds) is divining just what can be presented as new and shiny to catches the eyes of the media magpies. It's not a job I would enjoy. It all too often degenerates into a game of paint and lies, in which the original goal becomes secondary - that's a fate I'm happy to avoid, or at least leave up to the professionals.

A great deal is going on behind the scenes at the Methuselah Foundation, the nonprofit, donor-funded longevity research and advocacy organization chaired by de Grey. Sadly for the community of supporters, most is of that brand of endeavor that cannot be announced until all the ducks are in line. You're just going to have to take my word for it that interesting things will be springing forth before the end of the year.

Then it will be back to the media with a vengence, genuinely new matters and progress in hand - something I won't feel bad about in the slightest.

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