Here’s my elevator pitch:
Journalism is failing the average citizen who doesn’t know of the flood of new findings about the brain – and how they are changing what we can do about everything from children’s learning to dementia. Neuroscience for New England will be the average reader’s doorway to acting on these new discoveries.
It was part of an application to the Knight Digital Media Center for “encore journalists” – those over the age of 55 – to start new publications. Why just for New England? To keep the project manageable. The internet may be about reaching everyone, everywhere, all the time, but trying to drive traffic to a start-up website is a miserable proposition, unless you’re dealing in cute, fuzzy animals.
Neurons, hormones and brain structures with names like the cingulate gyrus don’t have the same sort of pulling power. My calculation is that by tapping into the physical organizations in the region that have an interest in what neuroscience is revealing, there will be a chance of reaching out to their constituencies – something that will be a lot easier to achieve when, say, educators know the school superintendent who’s contributing an article.
The required 50-word elevator pitch was only the start of the application. I’ll leave out all the other stuff it called for, but it ended with “Additional thoughts” (which was limited to 150 words) where I wrote this:
Each committee member over 30 suffers from the inevitable: your brains are rotting. Dramatically put, perhaps, but your brains are shrinking. Literally. Your aging cerebrum loses volume, just like that of a drug addict, though more slowly. Yet, like the addict, if you exercise, your body will help your brain rewire itself, reversing the process.
But perhaps you expect your kids to take care of you. If so, you’ll want them to counteract Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve, so they learn more, get good jobs and support you in the manner to which you’re accustomed.
If none of this makes sense, that’s because 150 words aren’t enough to teach the basics of how the brain works. Yet I hope it’s enough to make you curious – and enough to suggest how being informed about your brain can help you act, just as it will for NNE’s readers.