Posts Tagged ‘Guest Contributor’

Making the Most of Lab Visits

Any science story depends on getting the facts and figures right. But visiting scientists where they work allows you to move beyond the facts to glean insights into their personalities and passions. A lab visit can reward the enterprising reporter with behind-the-scenes details about how a discovery was made and what motivates the people doing […]

Diversity in Science Writing: A Survey

  For a tribe that loves empirical evidence, science writers have very little data about race and ethnicity among their ranks. There’s no census tallying up the ethnicities of those who do this job. Yet when you look around the room at work, school, or professional conferences, it seems clear that people of color are […]

Michelle Nijhuis’s National Geographic Adventure Began with a Single Word

In her first assignment from National Geographic, award-winning freelance science journalist Michelle Nijhuis started with a one-word assignment: coal. Based on that single word, Nijhuis traveled  from West Virginia, a top coal state, to China, the world’s largest coal user. No spoilers here, so we’ll just say that a long lag between assignment and publication […]

Dispatches from fact checking

I am a magazine fact checker. This is how I describe my job: “I verify and put a check mark above every single word in an article. If it is incorrect, I put a box around it and suggest a fix.” It sounds boring, but it rarely is. At its finest, fact-checking is a little […]

Weaving a seamless tale from threads of narrative and exposition

Many moons ago now, more than I care to remember, I had come from India to study for my master’s in computer science at the University of Delaware in Newark. All foreign teaching assistants, and I was one, had to undergo training on the intricacies of teaching American students. And as part of that training […]

Writing revealing stories based on unreliable sources

  This conversation began with another one. And that one began with a reprinted chapter of Will Storr’s book on people who were unpersuadable — that is, whose beliefs didn’t match agreed-upon reality but were nonetheless fixed. In this chapter, excerpted in Matter as “The Itch Nobody Can Scratch,” the fixed beliefs people had were that […]

#$%^* this: What else are my skills good for?

We science writers are so lucky to have a site like The Open Notebook working overtime to make us the best science writers we can be. Yes, it’s extremely important to carefully nurture our craft, so that we can use those skills … in some other line of work. Any other line of work. I […]

Jon Mooallem uncovers a wild plan to bring hippopotamus ranching to America

Jon Mooallem is fascinated by the relationships between humans and other animals, a topic he explores in his 2013 book Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America. Mooallem is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, and a frequent contributor to other magazines […]

Data Journalism: A Primer for Science Journalists

Did you ever know someone who was devastatingly handsome, made great conversation and whom everybody talked about even after he left the room? That’s kind of how I think about good computer-assisted reporting (CAR), also often referred to as data journalism. These projects turn spreadsheets into insightful infographics, support stories with concrete context, get passed […]

Track changes: Making the switch from writer to editor

Writers and editors don’t always see eye-to-eye. Sometimes those differences can make it feel like they simply don’t understand each other. But many editors come to their jobs after spending many years as writers, and they bring that experience with them when they take on their new roles. Last week, five writers-turned-editors participated in a […]

Christie Wilcox gets a taste of the Atlantic lionfish invasion

The lionfish, a common aquarium fish native to the Indo-Pacific region, has become an invasive species in the Caribbean and southern U.S. Atlantic coast, where its voracious appetite for young grouper and snapper is endangering populations of these economically-important food fish. One proposed solution is to encourage people to harvest and eat lionfish. Christie Wilcox is a science writer and  Ph.D. […]

Brendan Koerner storyboards a hijacking tale

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, hijackers commandeered U.S. flights on an almost regular basis. And the hijackers themselves were usually American: often idealistic and sometimes mentally unstable protesters, or, later, the down-and-out intent on ransom. Airlines treated the phenomena a cost of doing business. A few years ago, Brendan Koerner discovered this episode in […]

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