Monthly Archives: December 2012

 

Communication Breakdown’s 2012 Roundup

Posted 27 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

I launched Communication Breakdown a couple months ago with the idea of creating a platform to discuss all the different aspects of science communication. I haven’t tackled everything yet, but I’ve covered a lot of ground. Here’s a roundup of what we’ve discussed so far. SciComm Basics I’ve written quite a bit about what I think of as “communication basics.” These are a good refresher for professional writers and communicators, and a good introduction for researchers interested in scicomm. These... Read more

Writing Without a Net. Or a Wordcount. Or an Audience.

Posted 21 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Cynthia Graber, an award-winning print and radio reporter, current Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and author of “Electric Shock,” the December 2012 feature on Matter, the new online outlet for long-form science journalism.) Matt Shipman, the regular writer here, asked me to recount what’s involved in writing a long, narrative story that has no definite word count. When I began my most recent article, I not only had no word count,... Read more

The Costs of Bad Science Communication

Posted 18 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Emily Willingham, who writes The Science Consumer blog on Forbes.com, is managing editor of DoubleXScience, is co-author of the “Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism”, and has written for Slate, Grist and other outlets.] Did you get into journalism to mislead or scare the hell out of people? No. That’s what advertising, political ads, and marketing are for, right? Based on a Twitter poll I conducted recently, the best science journalists got into... Read more

SciComm Matters Because … the Future Depends On It

Posted 17 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

(Note: This post is part of an occasional series about why science communication is important.) Science communication is important for a lot of reasons, and I’ve already discussed some selfish ones – increased citation rates, tracking journal articles and working with funding agencies. But here’s a selfless reason: the future depends on it. Earlier this month, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement issued the latest results of its Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The... Read more

How to Pitch a Story to a Reporter (Without Being Annoying)

Posted 11 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

Part of a PIO’s job is to pitch stories to reporters. Done well, it makes reporters aware of research findings they’ll be interested in, which can lead to good news stories — making all of the relevant parties happy. Done poorly, a story pitch is spam that clogs a reporter’s inbox and makes it likely he or she won’t read your email in the future. So here are some ideas on how to do it well. (Note to reporters: this... Read more

SciComm Matters Because … Funding Agencies Say So

Posted 5 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

(Note: This post is part of an occasional series about why science communication is important.) Science is not cheap. Whether you want to do research on cancer, fruit flies or computer malware, you’re going to have to find someone to pick up the tab. In many cases, that benefactor is going to be a government funding agency. And funding agencies want you to tell the world exactly what you did with their money. How common is this? From the European... Read more