The Open Notebook Is Growing, Thanks to a $150,000 Grant from Science Sandbox

Dear TON readers:

We are thrilled to announce that Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation, has awarded The Open Notebook a $150,000 grant to expand our work.

The goals of the grant, $75,000 per year for two years, are twofold.

First, we will launch a new series of stories (16 stories in total) that will examine the experiences and perspectives of minority science journalists, who are significantly underrepresented in the science journalism community. The Diverse Voices program, a partnership with the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) Diversity Committee, will bring greater visibility to journalists from underrepresented groups and to scientific and journalistic issues of special relevance to minority communities. As we wrote in our proposal:

The people who tell science stories influence whose stories get told (or left untold) and therefore, how accurately the reading public perceives the scientific enterprise and the opportunities within science for people from diverse communities. What’s more, a science media landscape that is not diverse is missing opportunities for engaging communities of readers who may be interested in science and its role in society. The Diverse Voices program aims to help remedy these problems.

The NASW Diversity Committee (chaired by Shraddha Chakradhar and Ashley Smart) and The Open Notebook are natural partners for the Diverse Voices program, in that the two organizations share the goal of shining a light on and elevating the position of minorities in science journalism and have track records of making effective efforts to do so. The Diverse Voices program cannot solve the systemic problems that have led to a lack of diversity in science journalism. But calling attention to that problem, taking concrete steps to making minority journalists’ work and perspectives more visible, and undertaking nuanced examinations of issues that minority journalists are especially likely to confront are important steps toward strengthening science journalism.

The Science Sandbox grant will enable us to commission writers and editors for Diverse Voices stories, as well as to cover production, social media engagement, and other project expenses. We will be putting out a call for pitches for Diverse Voices stories soon, so please keep an eye out.

In addition to the Diverse Voices program, the Science Sandbox grant will also cover a substantial portion of The Open Notebook’s other operating expenses. Since 2010, we have published more than 300 articles, including in-depth features and guides on specific issues of craft, writer interviews and profiles, story annotations, an advice column, assessments of industry trends that impact the quality of science journalism, and more. The Science Sandbox grant will allow us to continue to publish resources that help science journalists improve their craft, and to take on more ambitious projects as well. The grant will also allow us to increase the rates we pay to writers, and to pay for editorial services that have previously been unfunded.

On behalf of The Open Notebook and the National Association of Science Writers, thank you to Science Sandbox for this major support. We’re thrilled that you’ve decided to invest in us, and we look forward to partnering with you.


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