I’m interested in highlighting the positive aspects of new media on science writing, so this morning I began exploring the topic on the popular social networking site Facebook (to reach beyond the science blogosphere) before moving the discussion here. Read the insightful thread that has emerged and please join the conversation in comments:
This weekend, I’m going to be teaching some science journalism at the following event hosted by Johns Hopkins and the Smithsonian:
Science Writing: From Eureka Moment to Digital Publishing
All Day Seminar — Saturday, May 15 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
From cells to stars, from evolution to swine flu, writing about diverse and complex scientific topics is an engaging, challenging endeavor requiring special skills. Today, well-known practitioners discuss how to find ideas, develop essential skills, and thrive in the digital age. Their ideas resonate with people currently working in the science or medical fields, writers who want to re-direct their work toward science or medicine, or anyone interested in how scientific information is communicated to the public.
9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Getting Started
Challenges of science writing. How to target audiences and choose an area of concentration. Ann Finkbeiner, writer, columnist, critic, and director of the Master of Arts in Science Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University; Chris Mooney, author and Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT; Nancy Shute, contributing editor and blogger for U.S. News & World Report and vice president of the National Association of Science Writers.
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Finding and Developing Ideas
Writing about advances in science and medicine, science policy, and the scientists themselves. Chris Mooney.
Other panels later in the day feature Carl Zimmer, our very own, and Jon Hamilton, a correspondent for NPR. You can see the full roster here. Unfortunately the event isn’t free, but, well, if you visit me on Facebook you might learn something about an, er, discount….
So maybe I will see some folks there.
Got myself an early yule present today; “The Oxford book of modern science writing” edited by teh Dawkins d00d. A first glance of the table of contents sends happy shivers down my spine – a great collection of 83 pieces of science writing. Extracts from key classics and more recent texts as well as shorter pieces like JBS Haldane’s heartbreaking but very funny “Cancer’s a funny thing”.
But since I can’t seem to leave my gender glasses behind ever, I started counting. And that takes me to the first complaint. Of 83 texts Professor D has selected 3 written by women. That’s about 3.6 %. How hard could it be to find a handful more?
While I don’t own the book itself, I skimmed the table of contents at Amazon and it appears she’s onto something. No, I’m not surprised, however, Dr. Isis, Rebecca, Sci, Sciencewomen, Janet, Zuska, Tara… we have work to do.