Science writing

14/10/2019

Can we really say what type of story has impact on us, and what type of story does not? Evidence suggests that we can. But we need to better understand the way that stories work on us, at a neural and empathetic level, and better understand the ways that the elements of stories, such as structure and metaphor work. By combining scientific research with the deeper wisdom of traditional storytelling we have both a deep knowledge married to scientific evidence — which can be very powerful tools for science communicators.

05/08/2019

At a time when science is perceived to be under attack and our planet is facing severe challenges, the role of science journalism in taking on these challenges was a key theme of the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists. But, while policymakers and science leaders are urging journalists to help restore public trust in science, science journalists are concerned about the future viability of their profession in the face of faltering business models in mainstream media.

06/03/2018

The rise of artificial intelligence has recently led to bots writing real news stories about sports, finance and politics. As yet, bots have not turned their attention to science, and some people still mistakenly think science is too complex for bots to write about. In fact, a small number of insiders are now applying AI algorithms to summarise scientific research papers and automatically turn them into simple press releases and news stories. Could the science beat be next in line for automation, potentially making many science reporters --- and even editors --- superfluous to science communication through digital press? Meanwhile, the science journalism community remains largely unaware of these developments, and is not engaged in directing AI developments in ways that could enhance reporting.

13/02/2018

This book is a beginners' guide to science journalism, explaining the 21st century journalistic process, from generating story ideas to creating multimedia content when the story's written, taking in research and writing structures along the way. While many of the chapters are introductory, the book also covers topics also likely to be of interest to more experienced writers, such as storytelling techniques and investigative journalism. Readers are introduced to important debates in the field, including the role that science journalism plays; whether it is a form of `infotainment', or whether its primary role is to hold scientists and the science industry to account. Taken as a whole, what the book does particularly well is to introduce prospective science writers to the judgements they need to make as reflective practitioners.

20/07/2017

As a case study, we analyze an article of the psychiatrist Henrique Roxo published in 1942 in two publications directed to different publics. The communication of science was intended as part of Brazil's modernizing project of the epoch. Roxo's case reveals that the language used by science communicators, although sometimes of difficult apprehension, was part of an strategy of acknowledgment of the medical authority for the diagnosis and treatment of the mental illnesses.

20/07/2016

BOOK: Olson, R. (2015). Houston, we have a narrative: Why science needs story. Chicago, U.S.A.: University of Chicago Press

Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson makes a bold claim: scientists cannot adequately explain their own work. He attributes all of the issues facing science communication today ― false positives, an uninterested public, and unapproved grant proposals ― to scientists' lack of narrative intuition. Rather than turn to the humanities for help, Olson suggests scientists learn from the true masters of storytelling ― Hollywood filmmakers. His latest book examines the age-old divide between science and the humanities, as well as the new adversarial relationship between science and film, which he says can save science.

17/06/2016

BOOK: Content is king; News media management in the digital age.
Graham, G., Greenhill, A., Shaw, D.Andvargo, C., Eds (2015), London, U.K.: Bloomsbury

The ‘traditional’ media industry ― newspapers and magazines and the like ― have had a difficult time lately thanks to increasing competition online. This book's chapters consider ways the traditional media can reinvent themselves to secure their future. Two key themes that emerge from the chapters are the importance of building communities and the increasing role of credibility in today's highly-competitive media landscape. While this book does not focus on the science media, many of the conclusions are relevant to it, in fact some are cause for comfort for those involved with science journalism.

17/03/2016

The academic journal paper has been around for several hundred years and during that time has seen shifts in style and structure. This editorial explores the traditional research paper and considers whether thinking about the research paper as a story, provides insights into style and structure that would make research both more transparent and more readable.

29/09/2015

The narrative method of presenting popular science method promises to extend the audience of science, but carries risks related to two broad aspects of story: the power of narrative to impose a compelling and easily interpretable structure on discrete events and the unpredictability and mystique associated with story.

09/07/2015

The standardisation and selectivity of information were characteristics of science journalism in the printed medium that the digital editions of journals have inherited. This essay explores this fact from the international perspective, with a special focus on the Spanish case.

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