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Topic: Advice

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.
Resource Database / Guide

Being a Science Journalist

Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT

"So you want to be a science journalist? People arrive at science journalism from all manner of professional backgrounds. Whether you’re a scientist ready for a career change, a journalist interested in specializing in a science-related beat, a student, or a recent graduate, this curated list of resources can help you get started on your journey." Resources include: Breaking In, Learning the Craft, Societies and Conferences, Academic Programs, Internships and Fellowships, Freelancing.

Science Communication in a Crisis: An Insider’s Guide

"If a scientist’s goal is to deliver content and expertise to the people who need it, then other stakeholder groups—the media, the government, industry—need to be considered as partners to collaborate with in order to solve problems. Written by established scientist Christopher Reddy, who has been on the front lines of several environmental crisis events, the book highlights ten specific challenges and reflects on mistakes made and lessons learned... This book will be a great resource for junior and established scientists who want to make an impact, as well as students in courses such as environmental and science communication."
Resource Database / Guide

AAAS Communication Toolkit

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

"This Communication Toolkit provides guidance for scientists to build skills to more effectively communicate and engage with public audiences, including ways to apply the fundamentals of communication to scientific topics. Sections focus on various channels or modes of communication, including online and face-to-face communication."
Resource Database / Guide

SciCommers Community Resources

Boston University

This spreadsheet shares resources and programs from the SciCommers community, a network of undergrads, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and industry researchers who are interested in improving their science communication skills. In the database, you can find: links to interviews with expert science writers, a guide to pitching stories, a list of science writing articles, stories by SciCommers, and more.
Resource Database / Guide

The ultimate science writing resource guide

This Medium post by science journalist Shel Evergreen covers the basics of what science writing is, and shares a variety of resources for getting started. The post covers: science writing basics, educational resources, careers, and freelancing. "But I could never find a single source that concisely summed up where to go for questions, resources, jobs, and more," Evergreen writes. "So, I hope this will serve as a useful tool for emerging science writers and seasoned professionals alike."

Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing

"In Ideas into Words, Elise Hancock, a professional writer and editor with thirty years of experience, provides both novice and seasoned science writers with the practical advice and canny insights they need to take their craft to the next level. Rich with real-life examples and anecdotes, this book covers the essentials of science writing: finding story ideas, learning the science, opening and shaping a piece, polishing drafts, overcoming blocks, and conducting interviews with scientists and other experts who may not be accustomed to making their ideas understandable to lay readers. Hancock's wisdom will prove useful to anyone pursuing nonfiction writing as a career. She devotes an entire chapter to habits and attitudes that writers should cultivate, another to structure, and a third to the art of revision."

How scientists can cope with negativity on social media

SciComm Academy

"Social media can be very powerful tools for scientists who want to engage in science communication. But social media can also be quite a harsh environment, where scientists face a lot of backlash. How can you deal with negativity on social media?" Bert Pieters of Mediawijs, the Flemish knowledge center for digital and media literacy, led this lunchtime virtual lecture, hosted by SciComm Academy.

How scientists can help reporters cover disasters

This interview between journalist Dan Falk and ocean chemist Christopher Reddy discusses what reporters and researchers can do to better work together on covering natural disasters and other scientific events with major impacts. "I’ll tell [colleagues] that journalists and scientists have a lot more in common — we both like to chase, we both like to investigate, and we like to write up what we find, and do it in a clever way, that people leave nourished," Reddy says.

Top tips for breaking into narrative journalism


Journalist Barbara Mantel hosted a webinar on breaking into narrative journalism with panelists Jane C. Hu, a freelance writer based in Seattle; Brady Huggett, the enterprise editor at Spectrum; and Pamela Weintraub, the senior editor for science and psychology at Aeon and the co-editor in chief of OpenMind magazine. This article rounds up the some key takeaways from the webinar. "Hu shared her experience researching, pitching and getting funding for these character-rich, complicated stories. Huggett and Weintraub talked about the hard work that goes into editing them. All three offered valuable advice to freelancers."
Resource Database / Guide

Know your research: Helping journalists understand academic research

This section from The Journalist's Resource features articles and tipsheets about reporting on scientific research. Topics covered include understanding research methods, finding and recognizing high-quality research, avoiding missteps when reporting on new studies, and more. New articles are added to the section every few weeks.

5 tips for using PubPeer to investigate scientific research errors and misconduct

"PubPeer, a website where researchers critique one another’s work, has played a key role in helping journalists uncover scientific misconduct in several prominent investigative stories in recent years — including the student newspaper series that led to Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s recent resignation." This story offers tips to help journalists use PubPeer for story ideas.

How extreme heat affects human health: A research roundup

This tip sheet from The Journalist's Resource focuses on who's at most risk from the effects of climate change. "Studies show that extreme heat can affect most people, particularly vulnerable populations like children, older adults and outdoors workers. We round up recent studies that shed light on how warming temperatures due to climate change are affecting various populations."

Science Editor

Science Editor is a magazine published by the Council of Science Editors (CSE). New issues are published quarterly, in print and online. "The mission of Science Editor is to provide editors and staff with the knowledge, skills, and concepts they need to run the best version of their journal or other publication in pursuit of improving the scientific literature."

How — and why — to write a science news release

Council of Science Editors (CSE)

"Researchers write journal articles to share information about what they’ve learned and how they’ve learned it. But those articles are only able to impart that information if people read them. The role of a news release, in this context, is to raise awareness of a new discovery via established news media outlets (even if that discovery is a negative result). Put in more practical terms, the role of the news release is to get reporters interested in writing about new research findings, with the resulting news stories letting a much broader potential audience know that the related journal article exists. So, whether you are a journal editor, a researcher whose work is being highlighted, or someone tasked with writing science news releases, it is important to understand how these releases are developed."

How to become a science journalist? A practical guide on science journalism basics in Arabic

This guide, written by science journalism and communication trainer Mohamed Elsonbaty Ramadan, explains science journalism basics for Arabic-langauge speakers. (The resource is written in Arabic.)

Making your science newsworthy

Green Science Policy Institute

In this video, Green Science Policy Institute Communications Director Rebecca Fuoco gives a 10-minute talk explaining how scientists can make their research interesting and accessible to the news media. The talk covers logistical details such as embargoes as well as how to frame novel research insights so that journalists may take notice.

Science essentials for local reporters

SciLine, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

This free, one-hour “crash course” — designed specifically for local and general assignment reporters — teaches basic principles about how science works and ways it can be used to strengthen virtually any news story. Former longtime Washington Post science reporter Rick Weiss and Ph.D. neuroscientist Tori Espensen cover do’s, don’ts, and pitfalls to watch for when including science in your news reporting. This course is offered periodically throughout the year; check the link for the next offering.

Opinion Science: The science communication podcast series

Opinion Science

Opinion Science is a podcast exploring the science behind our opinions, where they come from, and how they change, hosted by social psychologist, Andy Luttrell. In the summers of 2022 and 2023, Opinion Science featured conversations with science communicators, covering how they got into science communication, their approach to conveying research findings in an engaging way, and what you can do to be a more effective communicator. Guests include Joss Fong, David McRaney, Daniel Pink, Steve Rathje, Melinda Wenner Moyer, Siri Carpenter, and Latif Nasser.

Science communication: a career where PhDs can make a difference

"Communicating about science allows researchers to step away from the minutiae of a subdiscipline and to once again explore the breadth of science more fully through an ever-evolving array of stories. A doctoral degree can confer distinct advantages in the eyes of prospective editors and employers. Here I describe those advantages, possible career directions, and steps toward making such a transition."