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Topic: Best practices
Resource Database / Guide

Tip sheet: Best practices for pitching freelance stories

CASW Connector

On January 10, CASW Connector hosted a Chat discussing the best practices for pitching freelance stories, including how to structure your pitch, how to approach new editors, the art of the soft pitch, and much more. The panelists answered attendees’ questions, and participants discussed specific issues about pitching in breakout groups. This event was facilitated by Connector managing editor Kate Travis, and the panelists were: Robin Lloyd, freelance writer and editor, CASW president, and creator and curator of Science media outlets to pitch; Victoria Jaggard, deputy editor, health and science, The Washington Post; Esther Landhuis, freelance science & health journalist; and Debbie Ponchner, editor, Knowable en español, and CASW board member.

10 ways researchers can help journalists avoid errors when reporting on academic studies

"This tip sheet outlines some of the many ways researchers can help the news media cover research accurately, starting with the journalists who interview them about their own work." It offers tips to researchers for approaching interviews with journalists, differences in language between academia and media, and giving feedback to journalists.
Resource Database / Guide

The Debunking Handbook 2020

The Debunking Handbook 2020 is a guide to debunking misinformation. While it was developed by climate scientists, the tactics described apply to a variety of scientific topics. The Handbook was written by 22 scientists through a consensus process and has been translated into about 20 languages.

Beyond the debunk: How science journalists can report on misinformation


"The key to correcting misinformation is to debunk it quickly, and ideally prebunk it before it even sprouts. At the ScienceWriters2022 national meeting in Memphis, journalist Kat Eschner taught attendees multiple tools for writing different types of stories to combat misinformation, in a session titled 'Beyond Fake News: Reporting on Misinformation.'" This recap article summarizes key points and resources from the session.

Misinformation: 3 tips to help journalists avoid being part of the problem

"In his new book, How America Lost Its Mind, Harvard Kennedy School professor Thomas Patterson charts the dramatic rise in misinformation over the past three decades. On everything from climate change to vaccines, millions of Americans hold views that are wildly at odds with the facts and are confounding efforts to deal with the nation’s policy problems." In this article, "Patterson offers journalists three tips on how to avoid being part of the misinformation problem as well as suggestions for what to do instead."
Resource Database / Guide

How to Responsibly Report on Hacks and Disinformation: 10 guidelines and a template for every newsroom

Stanford Cyber Policy Center

"The run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election illustrated how vulnerable our most venerated journalistic outlets are to a new kind of information warfare. Reporters are a targeted adversary of foreign and domestic actors who want to harm our democracy. And to cope with this threat, especially in an election year, news organizations need to prepare for another wave of false, misleading, and hacked information." This report offers a playbook for newsrooms to adopt that includes "core principles and standards for reporting on newsworthy events involving false, misleading and hacked information."
Resource Database / Guide

Tipsheet: Data for wildfire investigations


In this tipsheet from a session at the NICAR 2024 conference, journalists provide tools and tips for "reporting on the entire wildfire prevention and control ecosystem, which spans dozens of agencies at federal, state and local levels, billions of dollars and sometimes (often) unfathomably cumbersome bureaucracy." The tipsheet includes reporting tips, data sources, document suggestions, and more. An audio recording of the session is also available at:

Abortion pill mifepristone: An explainer and research roundup about its history, safety and future

"Amid pending court cases and ballot initiatives, journalistic coverage of medication abortion has never been more crucial. This piece aims to help inform the narrative with scientific evidence." The article includes an explanation and history of medication abortion research and data on access to these medications, and recommendations of sources who may discuss this topic.

Your Local Epidemiologist

Katelyn Jetelina is an epidemiologist, public health researcher, and science communicator. Her newsletter started early in the pandemic as a way to deliver COVID-19 updates, and has since expanded to other topics such as other infectious diseases, reproductive health, and gun violence. She writes, "My main goal is to “translate” the ever-evolving public health science so that people will be well-equipped to make evidence-based decisions."
Resource Database / Guide

Science fiction stories with good astronomy & physics

"This is a selective list of some short stories and novels that use reasonably accurate science and can be used for teaching or reinforcing astronomy or physics concepts. The titles of short stories are given in quotation marks; only short stories that have been published in book form or are available free on the Web are included. While one book source is given for each short story, note that some of the stories can be found in other collections as well." The latest version of the list, published in January 2024, includes 88 links to published stories that are available for free online.

Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2024

International Astronomical Union (IAU)

"The Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference is the only large-scale, international conference for astronomy communication. The conference is targeted towards professionals from science communication, informal education, planetaria and science centres, as well as professional and amateur astronomers, journalists and creative personalities." CAP 2024 will be hosted by La Cité de l'espace, Toulouse, France.
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."

Science Talk 2024

Association of Science Communicators

Science Talk is the annual conference of the Association of Science Communicators. The 2024 iteration will include virtual programming from April 3-9, and the in-person portion will take place in Portland, Oregon, on April 11-12. All attendees will have access to virtual presentations. The conference features talks, workshops, and networking about science communication projects, research, best practices, and more.

PCST Network

"The Network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST Network) is an organization that promotes discussion on the theory and practice of communicating science, and of public discourses about science and technology and their role in society." Members come from a range of backgrounds, including researchers working on the theory and practice of science communication, communication staff working for research organizations, staff at science centers and museums, science journalists, and more. The PCST Network has a biennial conference and regular webinars for members.

World Conference of Science Journalists 2025

World Federation of Science Journalists

The next world conference of the World Federation of Science Journalists will be held at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, in December 2025. The WCSJ2025 will be hosted by the South African Science Journalists Association (SASJA), in partnership with the Science Diplomacy Capital for Africa (SDCfA). Visit the conference website for updates.

The Contextualization Deficit: Reframing trust in science for multilateral policy

International Science Council, Centre for Science Futures

"In a world of growing geopolitical tensions, science remains one common language for developing coordinated international action. When trust in science is compromised, the capacity for cohesive global policy action is further diminished. The question is how can the multilateral policy interface engage effectively with science, in ways trusted by populations? This working paper addresses this crucial problem by reviewing what research and practice in a range of fields from journalism to regulation have learned about trust in science in recent years, and the implications of that body of knowledge for policy-makers. The research suggests that the expectation that ‘trust in science’ should lead naturally to universal public compliance, although often criticized, still prevails among policy (and scientific) circles. The working paper proposes a different, more meaningful form of engagement of the multilateral system with science, organized around the notion of contextualization – in other words, the recognition that values, history, socio-economic factors and identities shape how people will respond to the science–policy interface in specific locations. It also considers the implications for action of the different engagement model for the science–policy interface."
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."

How to engage with journalists: A primer for public health

Harvard Chan Center for Health Communication

"In this media training module from the Center for Health Communication at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, veteran science journalist and center director Amanda Yarnell reviews the media landscape and what you need to know about journalists and journalism, explains how to vet a journalist’s request, and offers pro tips for preparing for and acing the interview."

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.
Resource Database / Guide

Reporting with Numbers

Reporting with Numbers is an extensive guide to using math in journalism, based on research by Knology and PBS News Hour. It covers math, statistics, graphs, data visualization, risk, and more in the topics of polling, health and medicine, climate, and economics. Its key goal "is to discover ways for making numbers in the news more accessible to the general public."
Resource Database / Guide

Getting started in science journalism

The Open Notebook

"The Open Notebook has published hundreds of articles and other resources aimed at helping science journalists sharpen their skills—and helping newcomers get started. This page contains a subset of those resources, with a focus on what’s most relevant to people who are getting started in science journalism. Dig in!"

COVID-19 Data Dispatch

The COVID-19 Data Dispatch is a weekly newsletter and blog focused on tracking the COVID-19 pandemic, written by Betsy Ladyzhets. It includes news updates, data sources, best practices, and more.

World Conference of Science Journalists 2023

World Federation of Science Journalists

The World Conference of Science Journalists takes place every two years, and is the largest international event for science journalists to gather as peers, helping one another learn, grow, and thrive. It brings together some of the World Federation of Science Journalists’ 15,000 members in 53 countries. Its first iteration since the COVID-19 pandemic was in spring 2023.

The Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication

The Oxford Handbook on the Science of Science Communication contains 47 essays by 57 leading scholars organized into six sections that address: -the need for a science of science communication -challenges to science, including difficulties in peer review -successes and failures in communicating about four controversies -the ways in which elite intermediaries communicate science -science media interactions, knowledge-based journalism, polarized media environments, popular images of science, and the portrayal of science in entertainment, narratives, and comedy -the ways in which human biases that can affect communicated science can be overcome.

KSJ Science Editing Handbook

The KSJ Science Editing Handbook, a product of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT, offers practical tips for editors. Written by editors from a variety of science-focused publications, the book includes chapters on statistics, sources, the science enterprise, topical guides, reader engagement, misinformation, and more. The handbook is free and available online and as a downloadable PDF.