Virtual Workshop Series: The Craft of Science Editing

As an editor, how do you decide whether to assign or reject a pitch from a freelancer? How do you work with writers to shape story ideas and to support their reporting? How do you identify what’s missing in a draft and figure out what revisions will make a story sing? How do you communicate your edits effectively and build collaborative relationships with writers? How do you edit with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind? How do you handle difficult conversations with writers when tricky situations arise?

Science editors have few formal opportunities to learn these skills. To help fill this critical gap, The Open Notebook is offering a series of virtual, interactive workshops that will give emerging and established editors the skills and confidence to work with writers on selecting and sharpening story ideas, planning and carrying out reporting, anticipating and troubleshooting problems in the reporting and writing process, and crafting accurate and compelling stories.

These workshops are for editors at any career stage, staff or freelance, who want to improve their skills in key technical areas of editing and to sharpen their coaching skills.

Note: Workshops in this series will mostly focus on editing the work of journalists and other professional science writers. Much of the focus will be on editing print features, though many principles covered are also relevant to news and other story formats such as op-eds, essays, or audio/multimedia/graphics, as well as to editing the work of academics and experts.

Format

Each workshop in the series is 90 minutes long. The program for each workshop will include planned presentations, interactive discussions, and opportunity for discussing or workshopping real-life editing challenges and solutions. Participants are welcome to take part with cameras on or off, whether in full-group or breakout-group settings. Sessions will be Closed Captioned. 

(See below for information about one-on-one editing consultations.)

Instructor

Siri Carpenter, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Open Notebook, will be the instructor for all workshops in the series. Siri is an award-winning science journalist and editor whose writing and editorial work has appeared in The New York TimesScienceDiscoverScientific AmericanbioGraphicScience NewsScience News for Students, and many other publications. She was a features editor at Discover magazine and has worked as a contract editor for several other publications. Of the hundreds of stories she has edited, a number have gone on to win prestigious awards. Siri is also the editor of The Craft of Science Writing, published by The Open Notebook in 2020. She is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers.

Registration Fees

The registration fee is $90 per workshop. 

Note about discounted rates: Our goal at The Open Notebook is to support the advancement of science journalists around the world. In particular, we want to ensure that the resources we provide are accessible to those who have experienced higher-than-average barriers to entry in our field. If you are a member of a community that has historically been underrepresented in science journalism or if your economic circumstances would make the full cost of the workshops a financial strain, we invite you to use the promo code TON70DISCOUNT for a 70 percent discount on all online workshops, making the cost $27 per workshop. (The promo code box is above the workshops listing on the sign-up page. A limited number of discounted slots are available.)

Note about refunds: EventBrite displays our policy as “no refunds.” However, we are able to support members of our community who are facing an emergency or change of life circumstances. Please talk to us if you need support!

Workshop Descriptions

The workshops below can be experienced either individually or as a series.

September 21, 2022 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET) This workshop is full. To be notified the next time this workshop is scheduled, please send an email to siricarpenter@theopennotebook.com.

This workshop will focus on how to develop the skills and mindset of an editor and make inroads into this career path. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Recognize the unique challenges of editing science stories
  • Identify key skills needed for editing science stories
  • Find editing opportunities
  • Position yourself for success as an editor

September 28, 2022 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET) This workshop is full. To be notified the next time this workshop is scheduled, please send an email to siricarpenter@theopennotebook.com.

This workshop will focus on the first steps in the editorial process: selecting what stories to commission, identifying the right form and scope for a story, and working with writers to plan reporting. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Analyze story ideas/pitches and evaluate writers’ skills
  • Work with writers to sharpen story ideas and develop reporting plans
  • Write clear pitching guidelines and assignment letters to maximize the chances of good results
  • Anticipate and troubleshoot problems that may arise during the reporting and writing process

November 9, 2022 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET) This workshop is full. To be notified the next time this workshop is scheduled, please send an email to siricarpenter@theopennotebook.com.

This workshop will focus on how to tackle the actual story-editing process well, from your first read-through to your final tweak. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Focus your attention to read story drafts as an editor
  • Prioritize the steps in your editing process
  • Identify the most common issues that plague stories for your publication and why they tend to arise
  • Use a “forensic editing” approach in order to recognize and disentangle common conceptual, structural, and style problems in drafts
  • Recognize when you are done editing

November 30, 2022 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET) This workshop is full. To be notified the next time this workshop is scheduled, please send an email to siricarpenter@theopennotebook.com.

This workshop will focus on nurturing successful partnerships with writers. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Communicate edits well
  • Work with reporters in a way that is honest, constructive, clear, confident, and empowering
  • Find the right balance between “coaching” and “rewriting”
  • Mentor early-career writers
  • Support writers experiencing hardship or important life transitions

December 14, 2022 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET) This workshop is full. To be notified the next time this workshop is scheduled, please send an email to siricarpenter@theopennotebook.com.

This workshop will focus on the role that editors play in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in science journalism. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Diversify your network of writers
  • Work with writers whose first language is not your publication’s language
  • Encourage and empower writers to include diverse voices in their stories
  • Work with sensitivity readers 
  • Identify strategies for addressing common problematic issues that can emerge in science reporting and writing

January 25, 2023 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET) This workshop is full. To be notified the next time this workshop is scheduled, please send an email to siricarpenter@theopennotebook.com.

This workshop will take a deeper dive into story structure. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Help writers create powerful ledes and nut grafs that provide structural support
  • Recognize and address weak or missing transitions
  • Weave narrative and exposition together to pull readers through stories

February 8, 2023 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET) This workshop is full. To be notified the next time this workshop is scheduled, please send an email to siricarpenter@theopennotebook.com.

This workshop will focus on how to manage sticky situations that can arise during the editing process. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Reject pitches honestly and humanely
  • Respond to work that misses the mark
  • Handle potential conflicts of interest
  • Deal with plagiarism and other misconduct
  • Handle negative feedback, harassment, or abuse
  • Respond to unexpected challenges

One-on-One Editing Consultations

If you’re an editor or aspiring editor seeking advice about some aspect of your work or career development, consider booking a 60-minute phone or Zoom call with TON editor-in-chief Siri Carpenter. In this private and confidential session, we can discuss editing craft, ethical considerations, skill-building opportunities, and strategies for your career growth. In addition, we can talk over any challenges you may be facing with specific projects or in your career progression.

The fee for a one-hour consultation is $150.

Our goal at The Open Notebook is to support the advancement of science journalists around the world. In particular, we want to ensure that the resources we provide are accessible to those who have experienced higher-than-average barriers to entry in our field. If you are a member of a community that has historically been underrepresented in science journalism or if your economic circumstances would make the full cost of a consultation a financial strain, we invite you to select the option for a 70 percent discount ($45 fee) when signing up for a consultation.

Schedule a 60-minute consultation at the regular cost ($150).

Schedule a 60-minute consultation at the discounted cost ($45).

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