SciLogs announced earlier this month that it will be shutting down in September. This marks the end of Communication Breakdown, but the beginning of my new blog, Science Communication Breakdown. I was invited to join the SciLogs blogging team in the autumn of 2012. In my first post, published October 24 of that year, I posed a baseline question: Is there enough to say about science communication to sustain a blog? The answer is, apparently, yes. To date, I’ve published... Read more
ABOUT Matt Shipman
Matt Shipman is a science writer and public information officer at North Carolina State University, where he writes about everything from forensic anthropology to computer malware. He previously worked as a reporter and editor in the Washington, D.C. area for Inside EPA, Water Policy Report and Risk Policy Report, covering the nexus of science, politics and policy.
In his free time, Shipman runs a non-profit organization called the First Step Project that has nothing to do with science, plays guitar badly (but with enthusiasm) and keeps track of the juvenile humans who live in his house. You can follow him on Twitter: @ShipLives.
Shipman is also the author of The Handbook for Science Public Information Officers (2015, University of Chicago Press) and a contributing author to The Complete Guide to Science Blogging (2015, Yale University Press).
Anyone interested in hiring Shipman for freelance writing or editing projects can reach him at shiplives[at]gmail.com.
Matt Shipman: All Posts
Online news outlets are interested in driving traffic to their websites. One way to do that is to get people to disseminate news stories through social media. A recent study attempts to outline which features in a news story make people more likely to share it. Getting people to share news stories online is important to online news companies, particularly those whose revenue models rely on online visitors. A study from Columbia University and the French National Institute found that... Read more
A paper published in the journal Sex Roles, reports that people think that the more feminine a woman is, the less likely she is to be a scientist. The same stereotype holds true for attractive people of either gender, the paper reports. Ugh. The paper, “But You Don’t Look Like a Scientist!: Women Scientists With Feminine Appearance Are Deemed Less Likely to Be Scientists,” was published online Feb. 5. The paper was authored by Sarah Banchefsky, Bernadette Park and Charles... Read more
From dragons and dire wolves to the arid Red Waste and the frozen lands beyond the Wall, Game of Thrones is teeming with exotic creatures and habitats. It’s also teeming with violence, disease and cultural practices that often swing from pseudo-historical to utterly bizarre. And, in an impressive collection of blog posts, there are scientists and science writers who want to talk about Game of Thrones and the world in which it takes place. Westeros and its environs were created... Read more
Journalism is essential to having an informed public, and therefore to having healthy, representative government. But the news that people actually read, watch or listen to is often focused on entertainment, sports, or funny cat videos. So, what constitutes “valuable” journalism? Is it what people want? Or is it what people “need”? A recent paper published in Journalism Studies attempts to address the issue, laying out four aspects of reporting that the paper’s authors call the dimensions of “valuable journalism.”... Read more
As someone who writes about science communication, I’m always interested in experiments designed to help people share information about research and research findings. Sometimes they are formal studies designed by science communication scholars, and sometimes they’re efforts by scientists, reporters or professional communicators to try something new and see how it works. I work at NC State University, and in late 2015 met a postdoctoral researcher at NC State named Kamy Singer. His research focused on plant and microbial biology,... Read more
Jamie Broadnax is the founder of Black Girl Nerds (BGN), a blog and podcast that covers a lot of topics, many of which are related to entertainment and pop culture. But BGN also covers issues related to tech and STEM in general. I recently had the opportunity to ask Broadnax about things like the creation of BGN, how she decides what issues to cover, how she balances pop culture and sci/tech, and the importance of diversity for STEM. Communication Breakdown:... Read more
Editor’s Note: This is guest post by Stavros Rougas, a co-founder of Expertise Finder and a former producer at the Toronto-based current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin. I recently heard of Expertise Finder and wanted to learn more about it. I figured that the fastest way to learn about it was to get the founder to explain it to me. To be clear, I’m not endorsing Expertise Finder, and have not been compensated in any way for running... Read more
I first visited the Peabody Museum of Natural History in the company of hundreds of science writers. The museum was hosting a social event for the annual conference of the National Association of Science Writers, which gave me the opportunity to explore its exhibits in the company of people who were exceptionally well-informed and gifted storytellers. It was the best possible introduction. I visited again a few years later, this time in the company of family and friends. The enthusiasm... Read more
Social media are used to connect with people and share information, so it is not surprising that reporters are using social media platforms in their work – connecting with sources and collecting information are fundamental aspects of journalism. A recent paper offers insights into how, and to what extent, newspaper journalists are using Facebook and Twitter in their reporting. The paper, “Tapping Into a New Stream of (Personal) Data: Assessing Journalists’ Different Use of Social Media,” was published online April... Read more