JOUR S-164 Reporting Science
As the coronavirus pandemic recently revealed, any journalist may be called upon to report on science. But reporting on science presents unique challenges, whether the story is about public health, environmental change, technological advancement, or the latest scientific discovery. This is because scientific knowledge is always contingent, and today's media and political landscape does not favor contingent knowledge. In this course, students learn the core principles of responsible and effective science reporting for the public: how to pitch, interview expert sources, and craft engaging prose about scientific discoveries and the people who make them. Students learn to report and write day-of and week-of science news stories, which also form the root of all longer works of science journalism, including magazine features, documentary films, podcast series, and books. We consider science reporting from such publications and outlets as ScienceNow, Nature News, Science News, NPR, and PBS—outlets that accept freelanced work and for which students are prepared to pitch and write for upon completion of this course.