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Topic: Advice

Journalists should report on lax oversight of research data, says data sleuth

Behavioral scientist Uri Simonsohn shares his thoughts on how journalists can improve their coverage of academic fraud and misconduct. Simonsohn, who coauthors the Data Colada blog (, urges reporters to ask researchers about preregistration and expose opportunities for fraud.

How to build a science writing portfolio when you have no experience

"Putting a portfolio together is not complicated once you have a few assignments under your belt. But it's a different story for newbies, and I can't count how many first-time writers have asked me how they can get a portfolio when no one will give them a chance to start." In this article, communicator Joachim Eeckhout shares recommendations for building a portfolio, including creating a blog, guest posting, and using social media.

Battling disinformation, fending off despair and staying relevant: What’s the future for environmental journalism?


"Environmental journalism — much like the news business more broadly — is in a state of flux. An increasingly urgent climate crisis combined with an evolving media landscape have raised big questions that linger over our profession and our beat." In this session at the 2024 Society of Environmental Journalists conference, panelists grappled with these issues. They discussed how to combat climate disinformation, coping with the feeling of despair, new business models for journalism, and more.

Too much and not enough: The challenge of conveying trustworthy information

AAAS, Kavli Foundation

2019 AAAS Kavli winner and senior WIRED editor Maryn McKenna discusses health communication and disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. McKenna walks the audience through different examples of communications from early in the pandemic and identifies lessons learned from sharing health information during this emergency phase.
Resource Database / Guide

Tip sheet: How to find and apply for fellowships for science journalists

CASW Connector

On November 8, CASW Connector hosted a Chat discussing fellowships for science journalists. Panelists offered the inside track on the fellowship experience, choosing the right fellowship for you, crafting a competitive application, and more, and answered questions from participants. This event was facilitated by Connector managing editor Kate Travis, and the panelists were: Jyoti Madhusoodanan, freelance science journalist; Neel Dhanesha, founding staff writer, Heatmap; and Deborah Blum, director, Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.

Tools for environmental reporting & Should we all be environmental reporters?

International Center for Journalists

In this webinar, journalists Crystal Chow from the International Journalists' Network and Mais Katt from the Environmental Investigative Forum discuss how coverage of environmental issues intersects with different international communities and beats. The event was part of a series preparing for COP27.

Covering climate as an Indigenous Affairs beat

In this article, Tristan Ahtone describes how he has approached harnessing Indigenous frameworks and expertise in covering climate change, as Grist's editor-at-large working on the Indigenous Affairs desk. He writes: "Incorporating Indigenous frameworks into our climate coverage represents a fresh approach and illustrates one of our most important goals: coverage of Indigenous stories for Indigenous readers. And one of the best ways we can do that is by embracing the traditions and practices that Indigenous Affairs desks and reporters have used for years — examining the social, governmental, and economic systems that foster inequality. It’s a framing that’s particularly important for climate change because of the disproportionate effect rising temperatures have on Indigenous communities and peoples who have contributed to it the least."

Covering Long Covid: Beyond ‘mystery’ and misunderstanding

NYU, Kavli Foundation

At this Kavli Conversation, journalist Betsy Ladyzhets and Long Covid clinician Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez discussed best practices for covering this complex disease. They talked about personal experiences reporting on and treating Long Covid, issues in past media coverage, story ideas, and more. They also answered questions from NYU students in the Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.

Special issue on careers in scientific editing and publishing

Council of Science Editors (CSE)

"The focus of this issue of Science Editor is on careers and roles in scientific editing and publishing. In 2017, we published a similar special careers-focused issue, and it seemed a good time to explore what has shifted in the past 6 years. This issue includes interviews and articles covering an array of editor roles and positions, many of which are new, have increased in prominence, or significantly changed in the last few years. There are also articles on the importance of training and preparing the next generation of researchers and editors, increasing diversity and equity, and the transition to remote work."

Science Journalism Is Shrinking–Along With Public Trust In Science

"Beyond talented journalists losing their jobs, many people seem to be losing trust in science in general. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that only 57% of Americans think science has a mostly positive effect on society, down considerably since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Is the waning trust in science reflected in the shrinking of science journalism? Ira talks about the current state of science journalism with Deborah Blum, science journalist, author, publisher of Undark magazine, and director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sabrina Imbler, author and science reporter for Defector."
Resource Database / Guide

A Scientist’s Guide to Working with the Media

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

"Sharing your science with media outlets can get your work in front of a broader audience and promote the value of scientific research. But it helps to have tips for working with journalists, public information, and communications officers. This guide is meant to help you effectively convey the value of your work to journalists and the audiences they represent. Read on to learn about what makes science newsworthy, how to promote your work to the press, how to prepare for interviews with journalists, best practices for effectively communicating your science message, and more."

SciCommers Mentor Chat Series

Boston University

SciCommers is a free network for scientists and engineers to improve their science communication skills and connect with science writing opportunities, hosted by Boston University. In the network's monthly Mentor Chats, communication experts video-chat with SciCommers about topics including how to start a podcast, science outreach, freelance science writing, and more. Past Mentor Chats are posted on the SciCommers YouTube channel.

Covering obesity: 6 tips for dispelling myths and avoiding stigmatizing news coverage

"Dozens of academic studies spotlight problems in news coverage of obesity. To help journalists reflect on their work and make improvements, we asked seven experts for advice."

How to pitch to a science editor

"Successfully pitching a story to a science editor requires a wide range of skills, from researching their outlet to communicating with them in a professional way. In this practical guide, we have compiled advice from six different science editors with extensive experience in commissioning pieces for a number of different outlets including Science, BBC Focus Magazine, New Scientist, the Mail and Guardian and SciDev.Net. Following the advice in this guide will increase the chances of getting your story accepted by an editor."

Pitching errors: How not to pitch

"Writing a good pitch is really tough. Writing a bad one is easy. Editors see the same mistakes over and over again, even from good writers." Seven editors from a variety of publications had a roundtable, email discussion about how not to pitch. This resulting article is full of do's and don't and practical advice for what not to do when pitching a story.

International opportunities for Latin American science journalists


In this webinar, a session from the Symposium to Advance Science Communication and Journalism in Chile (SAPeCCT) 2023, a panel of editors at science publications discussed freelance opportunities for writers in Latin America. The panel included Debbie Ponchner, Knowable en español; David Malakoff, Science; Rachel Courtland, MIT Technology Review; Lynne Walker, Stories Without Borders; Lauren Wolf, Nature; and Siri Carpenter, The Open Notebook.

Ask TON: How much time should I spend preparing a pitch?

Writers and editors at The Open Notebook respond to a question from a reader: "What is a normal amount of time to spend on preparing pitches for magazine feature stories? I’ve heard people say they spend as little as an hour, and others say they conduct multiple interviews before pitching—and I assume they then spend a good deal of time writing the pitch itself. What’s usually the best approach, practically speaking?”

How to successfully pitch The New York Times (or, well, anyone else)

In this article, Tim Herrera (who was, at the time, Smarter Living editor at the New York Times) explains some common do's and don't's of pitching freelance journalism articles. He writes: "After consulting with about a dozen editors who commission stories at publications ranging from small, niche blogs to national magazines and newspapers, I’ve pulled together the six most common mistakes freelancers make when pitching — and what you can do to impress an editor."
Resource Database / Guide

Tipsheet: Pursuing investigative stories as a science writer

This tipsheet, from a session at the ScienceWriters 2023 meeting, shares tips and resources for pursuing investigative stories on science topics. The session featured several esteemed investigative reporters talking about how they produced notable stories. The panelists discussed finding story ideas, filing public records requests, working with scientific research, considering libel risk, and more.

How Science Writing Fuels My Ph.D.

Duke University

"Research can be an insulating endeavor, but bringing my work out of the lab and sharing it with the wider world of politics helped deepen my appreciation for science and the people that fund that science," writes Ph.D. student Jameson Blount. In this blog post, Blount describes his experience pairing research with science writing.

Ask TON: Crafting a winning fellowship proposal

"What are the essentials of a strong proposal for a journalism fellowship? Fellowships can boost your career in many ways. They provide a supportive environment that can yield more impactful stories. They supplement commissions from journalism outlets (and often provide financial assistance for travel). And the prestige of a big fellowship doesn’t hurt a person’s résumé, either. Fellowships are also a great way to build relationships with your peers—camaraderie shaped during a fellowship can endure long after the fellowship period ends. Here, we’ve gathered advice about how to assemble a top-tier proposal."

Paying for it: Getting grants and fellowships

"Grants and fellowships have long been important funding sources, providing writers time and money to dig deeper into a story or subject area than they otherwise could. These sources of outside support range from small travel grants of a few hundred dollars to in-residence fellowships that last as long as a year and provide stipends of $50,000 or more to support academic studies or career-development goals." This article from The Open Notebook covers the basics of considering a fellowship, finding the right one for your idea, crafting a winning proposal, and more.  

To help journalists cover rising temperatures, newsrooms need to start with climate literacy

Sahana Ghosh, associate editor at Nature India, describes lessons and takeaways from a workshop that she led to help Indian newsrooms address climate misinformation. "I came away with a strong conclusion: there is a clear need for climate literacy in newsrooms," Ghosh writes. "Without it, journalists cannot counter climate misinformation and disinformation, or provide good information to our audiences."
Resource Database / Guide

Sci Comm Resources — Dan Vahaba

Dan Vahaba is the director of communications at the Duke University Institute for Brain Sciences. He compiled this Google doc full of science writing resources, including articles and books to read, tips about how to pitch, conferences, academic journals, newsletters, and more.

Kavli Conversations on Science Communication at NYU

NYU, The Kavli Foundation

"What happens when leading journalists who cover science and eminent scientists who reach mass audiences get together to exchange ideas? What do their differing perspectives tell us about how science communication is changing and how we can do it better?" Science writers can participate in this ongoing event series either in-person in New York City or online, with videos from past events hosted on the NYU website. The series is sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at NYU.