Science Literacy Foundation Grant Will Support Peer-Mentoring Network

Dear TON community:

We’re excited to announce that the Science Literacy Foundation has awarded The Open Notebook a $15,000 grant to develop a peer-mentoring network that will connect experienced science journalists with non-specialist reporters and editors who work for local and other general-interest media outlets.

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Science is woven into virtually every aspect of society, from the coronavirus pandemic to environmental policy to social justice. Local news sources play a critical role in the American media diet, so it’s crucial to the public interest that local reporters and editors are equipped to consistently tell accurate and engaging stories that involve science. Yet many non-specialist reporters and editors report they lack confidence in covering the world of science, a world whose jargon and methods can seem opaque and distant from the communities these journalists cover. At the same time, journalists who have a background in science often work within their own silos, serving audiences that purposely seek out science.

To help address these fundamental, longstanding societal problems, The Open Notebook, with the support of the Science Literacy Foundation, will begin to build a peer-mentoring network that will connect general-assignment reporters and editors, as well as journalists on other beats, with journalists who specialize in covering science, offering mutual opportunities for growth and skills development.

This new program will draw on The Open Notebook’s relationships with leading science journalism institutions and working science journalists, including those who have been part of our mentoring program for early-career science journalists, a program that has been underway since 2014. The project will play an important part in strengthening journalism at local and non-specialist outlets and therefore will contribute to strengthening science literacy among the audiences those outlets reach.

We’re thankful to The Science Literacy Foundation for its support of this project, and we’re delighted to partner with them.

(The Science Literacy Foundation is a new organization whose mission is “to investigate, create, and fund scalable initiatives and programs providing new paths to achieving science literacy.” Learn more and sign up for their newsletter here.)

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