Posts Tagged ‘Guest Contributor’

David Wolman Explores a Deadly Earthquake and Its Startling Legal Aftershocks

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake ripped through the heart of the central Italian mountain town of L’Aquila in April 2009, killing more than 300 people. To the horror of much of the scientific community, seven scientists and engineers were later charged with manslaughter, accused of misleading the public and creating a false sense of security after […]

Surviving the Grind of Fact-Checking

It was a low moment, the kind most writers remember for a long time. I was sitting at my desk, wrestling with a tight deadline, when I received an email from one of my editors. A reader had just written in challenging the accuracy of a description I had given in a recent story. Could […]

Writing for Women’s Magazines

When I tell other science writers that I write for women’s magazines, their reaction is typically something along the lines of “Whoa. What is that like?” Writing for magazines like Glamour and O: The Oprah Magazine and Family Circle is certainly a different experience than writing for Nature—but it’s fun and challenging in its own way, […]

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 […]

Creating Characters on the Page

“There’s no better place to find characters than science,” Erik Vance says. He should know; he makes characters come alive on the page all the time. Vance, a freelance writer based in Mexico City, has covered a wilderness medic who is creating a nasal spray to buy time for snakebite victims, a whale biologist who specializes […]

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 they had […]

#$%^* 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 […]

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