interview

 

Quick Questions About Scientific American Español

Posted 16 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

On Oct. 15, Scientific American announced the launch of a new site called Scientific American español. The announcement describes the new site as “an online channel with a special focus on science news and information in Spanish.” Here’s an excerpt from the announcement: Our new Spanish-language site, headed by Debbie Ponchner under the direction of Robin Lloyd, Scientific American’s news editor, and Richard Zinken, director of international digital development, features the same authoritative take on science news and information that... Read more

Hands-On Science For Kids: An Interview with Liz Heinecke

Posted 6 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Anyone who spends time with children knows that they are information sponges, eager to learn new things. But, in my experience, they can also have incredibly short attention spans. So if you want kids to be passionate about science, you will likely have to do more than just give them a book. One way to capture (and keep) a child’s interest is to give him or her the freedom to make a mess, shoot a rocket or make candy. In... Read more

Readable, Accurate and Engaging: an Interview with Terry Devitt

Posted 1 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Off the top of my head, I can list dozens of websites that offer readers science news. But in 1996, there were very few websites devoted exclusively to sharing high-quality science writing. One of the first sites to step into that niche was The Why Files, and it’s still cranking out stories almost two decades later. One of the founders of The Why Files is Terry Devitt, who is also the director of research communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.... Read more

You Could Be Learning Something: An Interview with the Creators of ‘Plague of Species’

Posted 7 May 2014 by Matt Shipman

Games can be great science communication tools, engaging and educating people about scientific subjects. But while many of these games focus on subjects that we can’t see with the naked eye (such as proteins or RNA molecules), one small team is developing a game that focuses on a macro-scale issue: invasive species. The game is called Plague of Species, and is being developed by researcher Kathryn Turner, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia who studies invasive plant... Read more

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

Posted 4 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

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

A License to Be Curious: an Interview with Seth Mnookin

Posted 24 February 2014 by Matt Shipman

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

Reporters, Authors, Artists and Scientists – a Collection of Interviews

Posted 17 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

Communication Breakdown has given me the opportunity to interview people engaged in a wide variety of science communication activities: authors, reporters, scientists, graphic designers, you name it. These Q&A features are often a lot of fun, and I always learn something new. I decided to pull together links to all of these Q&A sessions in one post, in case you missed them when they first ran. You can click on the bold-faced headers to go directly to the relevant post.... Read more

Why (and How) Nature and Reddit Science Are Teaming Up

Posted 11 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

On December 6, Reddit’s Science “Subreddit” announced a partnership with the venerable science news source Nature. Why did they team up? I wanted to know what Reddit, essentially an online bulletin board with an active community of users, would get out of partnering with Nature. I also wanted to know what Nature would get out of partnering with Reddit, which – though nicknamed “the front page of the internet” – has occasionally come under fire for the unsavory nature of... Read more

I’m Never Bored: an Interview with Florence Williams

Posted 9 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

“Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History,” by Florence Williams, is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read in years; a smart, funny read that touches on everything from evolutionary biology to toxicology and environmental health. In November, I met Williams at the annual conference of the National Association of Science Writers and she was exactly as smart and funny as I’d hoped she’d be, based on her writing. I wanted to know how she got into journalism, why she... Read more

What Freelancers and Editors Want From Each Other

Posted 3 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

Reporters and editors need each other, but this mutually beneficial relationship can sometimes be rocky—particularly for freelance reporters who might work with editors at a dozen different news outlets over the course of a year. In the interest of editors and freelancers everywhere, I asked a freelance writer and an editor to talk it out. Below, you’ll find a conversation between freelancer Jessica Morrison and editor Laura Helmuth. Morrison is relatively new to professional science journalism (less than two years).... Read more