Science Writers Explained (By Science Writers)

If you’re a scientist mysteried by the media, AAAS has set up a nice site to help. Included are a series of interviews with members of that dubious profession, including Science Friday’s Ira Flatow talking about radio, and the New York Times’s environment writer Andrew Revkin on newspaper reporting. I talk> about life as a multitasking freelancer, and how blog posts and books are and are not the same.

0 thoughts on “Science Writers Explained (By Science Writers)

  1. I cringed when I saw the question about “dumbing down” the science. Your answer is very good. We need to remove “dumbing down” and replace it with “elegant explanations.”

  2. Thanks for the links. I was recently offered work as a science writer for the local college paper and really looking for tips and advice on refining my scientific background into something usable for communication with the public.

  3. I cringed when I saw the question about “dumbing down” the science. Your answer is very good. We need to remove “dumbing down” and replace it with “elegant explanations.”

    Posted by: Ron | March 13, 2008 10:51 AM

    Sounds like the epitome of elegant solutions! LOL!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  4. A very nice site that I will be including next time I give a media training class…I’m glad they’re backing up all the advice we give scientists about communications.

  5. Elegant explanations sounds wonderful. But do not forget that it is the truth, no matter how complex, that is being explained.

    Not that that is likely to occur on this site…

  6. I don’t see how doing a good job explaining something precludes being accurate in explaining nature (assuming that’s what you mean by explaining the truth). It’s actually damn hard to take a topic you discuss with your labmates all the time and turn around and explain it to an audience with a different background. It is also damn hard to understand what the science is, why it is exciting, and translate that to the audience. Carl excels at that feat. If you read the answers to the “dumbing down” question by Carl, Andrew, and Ira, each does a reasonable job in answering the question. However, Carl and Andrew make a point of indicating that they aren’t dumbing down anything. Ira’s response may be the difference between a radio host (who has the scientists participating in the conversation) versus print reporters.

  7. I developed the “Chemical Hazard Symbol” several years ago working with the U.S.Army Medical Core on a software program that was put together by the Northrop Grumman Corporation. The project was called “NBC-CTS”. I had to build a Chemical symbol because there were just too many different symbols being used for all of the different chemical hazards and I needed one to represent them all. I built it based upon the previous two and worked it into the NBC-CTS Logo design. If you had told me that the design would have gone world-wide in under a decade I would have never believed it. Actually I never really gave the whole thing a second thought until it started cropping up all over the place… and now folks are putting CH tats on themselves. It’s too funny! -tk

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