Good things to write a newspaper article about science
How to write a news story
Granted, framing the topic as a question can be a hard habit to break. My second contribution to Stereophile was a personal essay that was published on page one. I don't mean to suggest that you have to have phenomenal rhetorical skills in order to make it as a science writer. An article needs a conclusion, but one very different from the kind you might write for a typical journal article. They will undermine your credibility too. Mistakes leave readers confused and misinformed. Each paragraph should introduce an interesting new idea with a topic sentence. Who generally writes the articles in each category -- staff writers or freelancers?
Savor the experience. Is there any advantage, then, to having an advanced degree in science?
Introduce only the terms essential to your story and no more. Most scientific papers are wrong, thanks to poor study designs, author biases, small sample sizes and other problems. The abstract will give the barest essentials. Readers will stop reading pretty quickly if they don't feel connected with the people or places in the story.
There's another respect in which it is important to specialize. The closing date for entries is 11 May Coming up in this series: How to ….
Think about whom you want to interview. Bear in mind that the story you should tell your readers might not be the story the authors want you to tell your readers.
Science writing for public
Savor the experience. So the whole universe of established science writers will hate me for giving this advice, but I'll give it anyway: get your work out there, even if it means giving it away at first. Try to step back, review your own assumptions, and broaden your view of who your audience really is. Move on if the answer is no. Get them to explain their results and justify their conclusions. What stood out as most fascinating, alarming, amusing, or important? A first draft rarely has good transitions to start with, so this read-through and revamping is an important part of the polishing process.
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