journalism

 

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

NSF’s ‘Indicators’ Report: Science Communication, News and Television

Posted 11 February 2014 by Matt Shipman

If you want to engage in science communication, getting mainstream news coverage offers the most bang for your buck. But is anyone interested? And which news outlets should you try to reach? A recent report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers some interesting insights into science news coverage and public attitudes toward science. One of my take-home messages? Television matters even more than I thought. NSF released its Science and Engineering Indicators report on Feb. 6. The report, which... Read more

Canada’s Science Communication Problem (and Two Things That Could Change It)

Posted 19 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Stephen Strauss, a freelance science journalist and president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. These days when I start to talk to people outside Canada about our federal government’s muzzling of its scientists, I invariably say somewhere along the way “it’s kinda Rob Ford-like.” Ford is, for the 0.0001 per cent of you unfamiliar with the name, Toronto’s crack smoking, drunk driving, journalist defaming, woman groping, bullyboy of a mayor. And I... 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

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

Scientists, Reporters & PIOs: What Do You Think About Online Press Materials?

Posted 19 November 2013 by Matt Shipman

In late February of 2014, I’ll be moderating a conversation about online press materials – the stuff that public information officers (PIOs) make available to reporters online. What do reporters want or need in an online press package? What do PIOs think reporters want or need? And what do scientists make of all this? The conversation about online press materials will be part of ScienceOnline Together, being held on the NC State University campus (where I work) in Raleigh. I’ll... Read more

The XX Question: Calling for a Level Playing Field in Science Writing

Posted 11 November 2013 by Matt Shipman

A friend recently told me that the line between my personal interests and what I do for a living is blurry, at best. I think, read and talk about science communication even when I’m off the clock. I love this stuff. And it’s because I love science communication and science writing that I attended a panel at the recent ScienceWriters2013 meeting called The XX Question, which was focused on the challenges facing women in the science writing community. The session... Read more

Expand Your Audience by Sneaking Up On Science

Posted 4 November 2013 by Matt Shipman

Science writers do a good job of conveying science news to people who are interested in science. But we don’t always do a good job of reaching people who aren’t interested in science. In fact, if you’re not interested in science, you’ve already stopped reading this post, because I used the word “science” three times in the first sentence. Reporters are trained to put the news up front. If you’re writing about a new discovery in cancer research or cellular... Read more

Mobile Reporting: Which Tools Work Best?

Posted 9 October 2013 by Matt Shipman

Mobile reporting is a catch-all term referring to reporting that uses mobile devices, such as smartphones, to create multimedia news stories that incorporate photos, video and/or audio components. And public information officers are also getting in on the act, to create multimedia packages to pitch to reporters. The idea is to turn your smartphone into a mobile studio. But what tools can make that studio most effective? In 2012, the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism rolled out its “Mobile... Read more