The News Release Is Dead, Long Live the News Release

Posted 16 April 2014 by Matt Shipman

Credit: Photo credit: Marcela, WikiMedia Commons “The news release is dead.” If you work in journalism or public relations circles, you’ve heard this before. But institutions keep rolling out news releases. Are news releases actually still effective or has their time passed? It depends on how you look at it. How News Releases No Longer Work I don’t think news releases are dead. But I do think that news releases no longer work the way they used to. For a... Read more

Incorporating Scicomm into the Science Classroom

Posted 27 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

Photo credit: North Carolina State University

Many people believe science communication (scicomm) is important. But one university professor decided to incorporate scicomm training into an advanced biochemistry course, with interesting results. Scicomm is important for securing research funding, boosting citations and encouraging future generations of scientists. But it’s also an important part of helping people find work. One study found that 90 percent of hiring managers felt “communication skills are essential for success” (Peterson, 1997). But, the study found, only 60 percent of job applicants had... Read more

Non-English Science Communication: An Overview

Posted 21 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

Image: Ivan F. Gonzalez

Editor's note: This is a guest post by Ivan Fernando Gonzalez, a bilingual scientist and science communicator. Gonzalez moderated a session on non-English science communication at ScienceOnline Together last month. He recaps the session here. (This post can also be found on Gonzalez's blog, ScienceSalsa.) The Non-English science communication discussion session at ScienceOnline Together (ScioLang) started as mission impossible. My mission, if I decided to accept it, was to generate a discussion in a room full of strangers about how science is... Read more

Science Communication and the Art of Not Stealing

Posted 14 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

If you can get images like this legally, why bother stealing them? (Photo credit: Kelly Jacques, National Science Foundation. Click to enlarge.)

I love art. In my free time, I enjoy visiting galleries and museums; in my professional life, I occasionally work with artists and designers on various communication projects. For these and other reasons, I know that art has value. And I’m not talking about some ethereal sense of moral, spiritual, or aesthetic value. I’m talking about dollars and cents. Art is, after all, a product. It is produced by the labor of artists. It is bought and sold – which... Read more

Bringing People with Disabilities into the Research Community

Posted 12 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

Photo of some of the REU Canopy Explorers, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Rebecca Tripp, a scientist with experience in canopy biology. Tripp is also paralyzed from the waist down, and writes here about what can be done to encourage students and scientists with disabilities to participate in scientific research. Growing up on the rugged coast of Maine, I developed a deep love of nature at a young age, and a strong desire to preserve it as I grew to understand the innumerable and increasingly... Read more

Online Tools: The Waaaave of the Future

Posted 10 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

Eleanor Spicer-Rice

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Eleanor Spicer Rice, a freelance science writer and co-founder of the science communication company Verdant Word. She is also co-founder of the science/art blog BuzzHootRoar (she’s Roar) and the author of Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants and Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of New York City. When my brother graduated from college, one of his commencement speakers, a distinguished professor, announced to us in a wizardly voice: “The Internet is... Read more

A Gap in the Market for Science — an Interview with Mark Henderson about Launching Mosaic

Posted 4 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

Image: Michael Coghlan

When a charitable foundation like the Wellcome Trust launches a news outlet focusing on long-form science news, it gets my attention. I’m always happy to see new homes for science features, but it raises some interesting questions. For example, how will it handle conflict-of-interest issues? The news site, Mosaic, launched March 4. One of the brains behind the site is Mark Henderson, head of communications for the Wellcome Trust, former science editor of The Times, and author of The Geek... Read more

Science and the Evangelical Communities: Earnest, Imperfect Steps Forward

Posted 26 February 2014 by Matt Shipman

Image: Guro Aspenes

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jen Davison, a research scientist and science communicator at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment. Davison attended this year’s AAAS meeting in Chicago, and writes about a session there on science and religion. As Galen Carey, vice president for government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, took his place in front of a room full of researchers and science journalists, he asked the crowd, “So why aren’t y’all at... Read more

A License to Be Curious: an Interview with Seth Mnookin

Posted 24 February 2014 by Matt Shipman

Seth Mnookin

Seth Mnookin is a science writer. (I know, because I asked him.) But that seems kind of limiting. As a newspaper reporter he’s covered everything from rock n’ roll to the crime beat in Florida. As a magazine reporter, he’s written for outlets ranging from Vanity Fair to Wired. And while he’s the author of The Panic Virus, about the spurious link between childhood vaccinations and autism, he’s also written books about professional baseball and the Jayson Blair scandal. Clearly... Read more

Why I Started

Posted 17 February 2014 by Matt Shipman


Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Graham Short, a researcher at the California Academy of Sciences and founder of the science news site, Sciworthy. is a newly-launched science news platform for emerging and established scientists (grad students, post-docs, and Ph.Ds) to summarize their scientific research papers for a non-scientific or lay audience in order to share with family, friends, the general public, and even fellow scientists in other specialties. Each posting includes an engaging headline, the non-technical... Read more