Tag Archives | science journalism


Mystery of the Red Tide

I stood with my feet buried in sand, staring at the ocean waves as they touched the beach. It was mid-October. To my untrained eye, the Monterey Bay shoreline looked like a child’s bubble bath. To California Fish and Wildlife scientists, it was a terrible déjà vu. Nine years ago, an algal bloom wreaked havoc—and…

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A firefighter checks for hot spots by the Soberanes Fire. This fire cost $250 million and is one of the costliest fires in the history of the U.S. Photo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flikr.

There’s no money to fight fire with fire

In 2000, my husband’s cat made the news. The Cerro Grande Fire had chased his family from their home in Los Alamos, New Mexico but everything happened so fast that they didn’t have time to find their cat. When the cat ambled into the house a few hours later, firefighters caught him and stuffed him…

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Flash point: 
Science meets policy (photo–Leslie Willoughby)

Flash point: science meets policy

The story of the world’s first Ebola epidemic burns at the flash point between science and policy, an enticing yet frightening intersection that can make or break a writer’s credibility. During an after-dinner speech at the time when the outbreak is beginning to dominate the news, I grasp the value of health care policy and…

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"Scene at the signing of the Constitution," Howard Chandler Christy, 1940

Source: http://www.teachingamericanhistory.org

Ethical Guidelines for Science Journalists

Following the recent sexual harassment scandal at Scientific American, heated ethical debates dominated the science journalism digisphere. We  —the ten budding writers in the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program class of 2014, led by our instructor, Nature reporter Erika Check Hayden — decided to weigh in. We started with the nine Principles of Journalism…

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#AAAS in 140 or less

As many of you know, I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter. #ilovewaffles (1/2) Some days, I’m tempted to relinquish my membership for reasons that will remain mysterious, (2/2) and other days, I eagerly watch my Twitter feed as if it were the latest episode of “Glee.” #gleek! But until the #AAASmtg, I didn’t regularly…

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Marvelous mentors at AAAS

Where there are science writers, there’s schmoozing. And parties during the AAAS meeting last week elevated the evening social gathering to a new standard of sophistication. One event, at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., featured fancy finger food and cocktails in test tubes. At another, waiters served bison sausage with jelly. But my favorite…

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The search for ET. All these astronauts are now dead.

Science hype

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is notoriously good at finding means for justifying its science budget, sometimes deploying what amounts to science fiction (see vintage hype image gallery in a separate post). Mostly, though, it’s simple hype. All of us slugs are on the NASA news release list. An unusually cryptic, tantalizing PR…

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tales of a twitterpated writer

The Story By William Blake-Drake Story! Story! yet to write In the newsrooms of the night, What nocturnal journalist Could frame thy lede and nutgraf/gist? In what distant source or two Burn the quotes I need for you? On what site dare facts reside? What the Google, at my side? And what structure, and what…

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