Notes from the trenches on science communication: what works, what doesn’t and what I’m still trying to figure out.
Communication Breakdown's Latest Posts
On May 8 a lawmaker named Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to create the position of “Science Laureate of the United States.” Regardless of the bill’s chances of passage (more on that later), it raises an interesting question: Who would make a good ambassador for science in the U.S.? The “Science Laureate” bill (H.R. 1891) would allow the president to appoint up to three science laureates, who would serve renewable one-year or two-year... […]
If I had to hatch a murder plot with a science writer, Deborah Blum would be my first choice. Like Agatha Christie, Blum’s work frequently references poisons, skulduggery and murder most foul. Unlike Christie, Blum’s work is nonfiction. An award-winning journalist, Blum has written about issues ranging from primate research to the science of sex. But in recent years her focus has been on, broadly speaking, the science of murder. Her 2010 book, “The Poisoner’s Handbook,” chronicles an […]
Despite the repeated claims that journalism is dying, we’re seeing a lot of news outlets spring into being. One of those new outlets, The Conversation, is taking a fairly interesting approach – marrying academia and journalism under one banner. The Conversation, which based in the U.K., launched May 16. It is a free news site that (according to a teaser it posted online) is “produced by academics and journalists” and aims to “source news, commentary and the latest research from... […]
If someone just gave me a bunch of money, would you be interested? Probably not. That’s because when one person gets money it is not inherently interesting to anyone else. But when that money comes in the form of a research grant, there’s often a lot of pressure on public information officers (PIOs) to stir up interest among reporters. I am a PIO, and I struggled with this particular task for a few years before realizing that, sometimes, promoting grant... Read more
Medical writing can be dry, technical and confusing. But it can also be spellbinding, pulling readers into a world where men and women are engaged in a daily battle against human suffering. At its best, medical writing reminds readers that the triumph of scientific discovery can not only change lives, but save them. “The Philadelphia Chromosome,” by first-time author Jessica Wapner, is an example of great medical writing. The book involves dozens of researchers, more than a century of […]
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