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SCIENCE WRITING FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION Challenges and Best Practices Eric Schwartz Science Writing Intern at the Mentor: Leslie Anne Newell.

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Presentation on theme: "SCIENCE WRITING FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION Challenges and Best Practices Eric Schwartz Science Writing Intern at the Mentor: Leslie Anne Newell."— Presentation transcript:

1 SCIENCE WRITING FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION Challenges and Best Practices Eric Schwartz Science Writing Intern at the Mentor: Leslie Anne Newell

2 Science Writing and Society Policy Decisions 18 States Suing EPA Over Global Warming Science Education Bush Endorses Teaching 'Intelligent Design' Theory in Schools Science Research Funding McCain's Beef with Bears?—Pork

3 OBJECTIVES DEVELOP WRITING SKILLS LEARN JOURNALISM MECHANICS UNDERSTAND HOW TO MAKE AN IMPACT

4 STATISTICS 13 Stories : – Approximately 1/Week Story Topics : – Global Warming – Mathematics – Health Issues – Archaeology – Biology – Science History

5 DEVELOP WRITING SKILLS A ccurate E njoyable I mportant O riginal U nderstandable

6 LEARN JOURNALISM MECHANICS 1.Identify Story Topic 2.Pitch Story to Editor 3.Research Topic 4.Interview Scientists 5.Check Factual Information for Accuracy 6.Final Edit

7 UNDERSTAND HOW TO MAKE IMPACT Reader Feedback: – Online Comments – s – Phone Calls Scientist Feedback Citations/Reprinting – Other Newspapers – Websites

8 POPULAR TOPICS Most Reader Comments: – UA Prof Challenges One of Central Beliefs About Global Warming: 1/30/08 Picked Up by AP, Scripps-Howard: – Low Voltage Helps Increase Chemical Yields: 4/1/08 – Researcher Looks for First Sign of Dust: 2/19/08 – Cozy Up to Tarantulas, Scorpions, Assassin Bugs at Educational Show: 3/12/08 Website Citations: – Science News Websites, Science and Political Blogs, University Websites, Fox11AZ.com, Turtleback Zoo, NJ,

9 HOW TO MAKE AN IMPACT 1.Politically controversial issue of Global Warming got the most comments and was cited by the most websites and blogs. The title also helped attract comments and citations, especially on conservative websites and blogs. 2.The News organizations like AP and Scripps picked up stories that were unusual. 3.Other websites like Case Western Reserve University cited me because I mentioned one of their scientists.

10 HOW TO BE A SCIENCE WRITER Choose Topics Carefully – Relevant and Interesting – Novel Discoveries or Concepts – Controversial Public Issues (don’t preach) – Local Events, Celebrities Headlines are important Simplify Concepts, Don’t Dumb Down Respect Science and Scientist

11 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS NASA Space Grant Consortium Leslie Anne Newell Arizona Daily Star AAAS All the scientists and engineers who shared their work with me


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