Note: Find a tip sheet and recording of this Connector Chat here

Science journalists and communicators are increasingly called upon to cover topics that spark social and political turmoil, ranging from abortion and gender-affirming care to vaccines and guns. Reporting on and writing about these topics can require more sensitivity and time than other science stories, as every step of the process, from finding sources to sharing a published story, comes with added complexity.

Abortion is one key example of a medical topic that has become increasingly political, following Supreme Court decisions and barriers to accessing health care across the U.S. In this Connector Chat, we’ll discuss covering abortion as a model for covering other controversial topics. Afterward, Connector will share a tipsheet of resources and practical advice, relevant whether you write about abortion or a different polarized issue, or even if you haven’t yet ventured into covering these topics.

The panelists include journalist Sarah McCammon, a national political correspondent at NPR, and Katie Woodruff, a public health social scientist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Services at the University of California, San Francisco. Naseem Miller, senior health editor at The Journalist’s Resource, will moderate the session. The panelists will explore how to find and protect sources, how to conduct interviews with sensitivity, and how writing, editing, and fact-checking may be different for hot-button topics than with other types of science and health stories. They will also share story ideas and guidance on what journalists often get wrong.

The Chat will include plenty of time for answering questions; we encourage you to bring questions from your own beats that this panel may be able to help answer. This event will be recorded and a link will be sent to all registrants, even if you can’t watch it live.