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Science journalists play a demanding role in society—we expect them to not only explain the newest advances in scientific research, but to also provide critical context and analysis on issues ranging from addiction science to genetic engineering to energy; to shed light on the human beings behind the research; and to serve as watchdogs to help ensure the continued freedom and integrity of the scientific enterprise.
To fulfill such a role takes skill. And the skills that science journalists need are endangered. Only a fraction of working science journalists are trained in formal journalism programs. And with the shrinking number of traditional staff jobs available, science journalism is fast moving toward a “gig economy” that relies on freelancers to produce work once done by staffers. One effect of that shift is that fewer journalists have the opportunity to master skills through the natural mentoring that takes place in newsrooms.
The Open Notebook is dedicated to providing science journalists with the tools to sharpen their skills. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution or a monthly recurring donation to support our work.
We hear regularly from science writers at all levels of experience, from beginners to veterans, who say they view The Open Notebook as an invaluable resource. The Open Notebook has been called “a gift to the science writer community” and “the textbook of science journalism.” (Read more about what people say about The Open Notebook here.) Journalism instructors use TON articles and other resources in their teaching, aspiring science writers use it to learn the craft, and working journalists and other science writers and communicators use it to sharpen their skills. Since 2010, The Open Notebook has welcomed more than a million unique visitors. Despite the science writing community’s small size, we have about 15,000 – 25,000 unique visitors a month.
The Open Notebook is a valuable resource to science writers all over the globe. People from almost every country in the world have visited TON—and of those, more than 50 countries (including numerous nations in the Global South) have sent more than 1,000 visitors each.
Creating and publishing these resources costs money. We pay writers competitive professional rates for every interview, feature, story annotation, and translation. We also pay for professional editing and copyediting, as well as covering administrative costs such as website hosting and domain registration, site maintenance, and nonprofit registration fees.
TON is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. If we have helped you improve your skills, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help support our work.