Agenda for Thursday, Nov. 3

The Scope is live!

http://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/scope/

Suggestions from our designer: more photos like these

Update on midterm and grades

Today’s agenda

Book/author presentations

Paige Bellamy on “The Science of Interstellar”

Jacob Jaminet on “Me, Myself and Why”

Presentation by an information specialist with VCU Libraries

Writing clinic preparations

Shift schedule

Mock-up of poster

Questions we’ll ask

Plans for Story #2 (due Nov. 17)

 

Let’s hang out with John Horgan

John Horgan is not only one of the nation’s top science journalists but also director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.

As a journalist, he has accrued an extensive body of work. He has written four books, including “The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Science in the Twilight of the Scientific Age” and “Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality.” From 1986 to 1997, Mr. Horgan was a senior writer at Scientific American and currently writes the magazine’s Cross-Check blog. He has also written for The New York Times, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Slate and other publications around the world. Mr. Horgan contributes to “Science Faction” on Bloggingheads.tv. He tweets as @horganism.

Mr. Horgan will speak to our Science Journalism class from 2 until about 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1. You can engage with us live here or on YouTube. If you’re watching in real time, you’re welcome to suggest questions that we can ask Virginia. You can do that by posting a comment here or on YouTube.

Background on and work by John Horgan

John Horgan‘s website

Articles and Essays

Cross Check blog on Scientific American

Books:

The End of Science

NYT book review

The End of War

The Undiscovered Mind

Recap of class on Thursday, 10/27

Book/author reports

Rebecca Jones: At the Edge of Uncertainty

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lsJ9peU_0sDmcsCZr2TDAerb2GIsJwsPnnLE7e4qjOk/edit

Nov. 4-5 Writing Workshops

Here are questions we brainstormed to ask grad students who want help articulating their research. With these questions, we’ll be able to elicit the information for a poster about each researcher’s work.

What was the inspiration behind your research? (If the reply is “I was assigned to this”: Why did you become a ——-?)

Why should other people care?

How would your research change your life or the life of a loved one?

What are the real-world applications — immediate and down the road?

When you go home for Thanksgiving, what will you tell your family about your research? What do they not get?

If you could describe your research in five words, what would they be? (Distill your research in five words. If you could hashtag your research … What keywords would you put on your research …)

What one question are you trying to answer in your research?

How would you emphasize accomplishments while acknowledging your limitations?

Where do you get your funding? (Or: What groups do you think might fund this research?)

How would pitch your idea to Congress if you were seeking funding for your research?

(Must be empathetic. They may want to talk about how long their research took … the methodology.)

(Jessica: What does it mean to you?)

John Horgan — getting ready for the Hangout we’ll do with him on Tuesday

John Horgan‘s website

Articles and Essays

Cross Check blog on Scientific American

Books:

The End of Science

NYT book review

The End of War

The Undiscovered Mind

Agenda for Tuesday, 10/25

Discussion of Science and Journalism

Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 from noon to 1 p.m.

The Translational Partnership for Mental Health hosts an open discussion on the relationship between science and journalism in BioTech One, Conference Room 1-160. The discussion will be followed by an opportunity for participants to discover ways to translate their own findings (or favorite article) into an accessible format for all readers. Light refreshments will be served. R.S.V.P. to the contact below. For more information, contact Jessica Bourdon at jlbourdon@vcu.edu or visit http://tpmh.weebly.com/

A Glass Of Red Wine Is The Equivalent To An Hour At The Gym, Says New Study (HuffPo)

Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need (NYTimes)

Handouts of news stories

Critiques by Translational Partnership for Mental Health

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What journalists can learn from librarians (Columbia Journalism Review)

In a recent Knight Foundation report, the dean of American University’s School of Communication Jeffrey Rutenbeck wrote, “Journalism has had the luxury of not having to ask itself the existential question of why anyone should pay any attention to us at all.” Rutenbeck’s solution to that problem: “I think journalists could learn a lot from hanging around with successful librarians.” There’s some clear similarities between journalists and librarians: They both navigate a wealth of information and help people get the information they need, and they’ve both faced technological disruptions. Among the things journalists could learn from librarians: Librarians have developed a set of principles called “information literacy” to help people assess the credibility of information and how to use ethically.

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Book-author reports schedule

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lsJ9peU_0sDmcsCZr2TDAerb2GIsJwsPnnLE7e4qjOk/edit

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Nov. 4-5 Writing Workshops

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dEVcb-cYmaEoBAlsWSpDnZRu1nV1wfNYcW2TQioIxkY/edit

Flier: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0ByOCOGk5OYCcdDdXemR2b0kza28

Pair up. Think of two questions you could ask to help researchers explain their work. We’ll write them down and share them.

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Midterms

First stories

What the final stories look like

Second stories — due before class on Tuesday, Nov. 15

Third stories?

Recalibrating our syllabus

Gradebook item Weight (old) Weight (new)
Story #1 (Sept. 27) 5% 15%
Story #2 (Oct. 6) 10%
Midterm exam (Oct. 25) 15% 15%
Story #3 Writing clinic 10% 10%
Story #2 (Nov. 17) 15% 20%
Final exam (Dec. 13) 20% 25%
Author/book report and presentation 15% 15%
Blog and other homework assignments 10%
Total 100% 100%

Next few classes:

Thursday, Oct. 27

Joseph Johnson: War of the Whales (possible)
Rebecca Jones: At the Edge of Uncertainty

Read and be ready to discuss work by John Horgan, author of The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Science in the Twilight of the Scientific Age:

John Horgan‘s website

Articles and Essays

Cross Check blog on Scientific American

Books:

The End of Science

NYT book review

The End of War

The Undiscovered Mind

Tuesday, Nov. 1

Google Hangout with John Horgan, who writes the Cross-Check blog for Scientific American

Thursday, Nov. 3

Get ready for Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5, when we will help VCU graduate students craft abstracts and other materials about their research.

Agenda (& recap) of class on Thursday, 10/6

Science Pub RVA (sign up if you want to attend; it’s free!)

Takeaways from our conversation with Michelle Nijhuis

Story #1

  • About the editing process
  • Workflow — my system
  • What you must do after I’ve edited your story (Riley, I need a volunteer)
  • General comments:
    • news stories, not essays
    • every story needs a focus
    • your story can’t be boring
    • soft lead (creative hook) or hard-news lede (start with nut graph)
    • “gold coins along the path” (Joe Johnson)
    • logical organization and transitions (repeat a word from previous graf)
    • no jargon; define terms (Jacob Jaminet)
    • no first person
    • no honorifics; follow AP style
    • mechanics: complete sentences; no run-ons; subject-verb agreement; pronoun-noun agreement
  • When it’s all done — through two edits — here is what I’ll send you

Distribute critiques/edits of Story #1 (I handed back printouts and did a quick huddle with each student.)

Discuss with your neighbor while I do a consult with each student and we set deadlines: I’ve asked some students to finish their stories by Friday; others have until Tuesday.)

Story #2 — Let’s look at the budget

Story request from RVA Hub (Shawn has first dibs on this assignment; I’ve emailed him details.)

Where to find story ideas

Deadline for Story #2: Oct. 18

Book reports schedule: Select a date

Let’s talk about the midterm — we’ll do this on Tuesday. It will be a take-home midterm.

Homework:

Story #1: revise copy … fact-check … get photo

Story #2: get a focus … contact sources … schedule interview

Read about the panelists for the Oct. 13 event:

  • Tim Wheeler, former president of the Society of Environmental Journalists
  • Erika Engelhaupt, online science editor for National Geographic
  • Tim Appenzeller, news editor for the journal Science
  • Tammie Smith, longtime health and medical reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Everyone must contribute at least one question before we meet on Tuesday. Oct. 11.

Everybody must take the NewsU course: “Whose Truth: Tools for Smart Science Journalism in the Digital Age.” Do it by Oct. 11.

Let’s hang out with Michelle Nijhuis

Michelle Nijhuis is an award-winning science journalist and author of The Science Writers’ Essay Handbook: How to Craft Compelling True Stories in Any Medium. She has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, National Geographic, High Country NewsSmithsonian Magazine and other publications. Among other honors, she received the 2006 Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for an in-depth series on the impact of climate change in the American West.

Ms. Nijhuis (pronounced nye-house) will speak to our Science Journalism class from 2 until about 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4. You can engage with us live here or on YouTube. If you’re watching in real time, you’re welcome to suggest questions that we can ask Virginia. You can do that by posting a comment here or on YouTube.

Work by Michelle Nijhuis

The Science and Art of Science Writing (NYTimes)

Michelle Nijhuis’s Brief Guide to Writing Reported Essays (The Open Notebook)

Friend or Foe? Crows Never Forget a Face, It Seems (NYTimes)

Frozen Sperm Offer a Lifeline for Coral (NYTimes)

AFTER A HUNDRED YEARS OF THE PARK SERVICE, WHAT’S NEXT? (The New Yorker)

HACKING THE BREAST PUMP (The New Yorker)

Published articles — a list on Michelle Nijhuis’ website

Books and chapters — also from her website

From The New Yorker

From High Country News

From Last Word on Nothing

Weekend homework & agenda for Tuesday’s class

Excuse the late recap of weekend homework assignments. I know we all are swamped. Just getting things down on digital paper will help keep us organized. As the writer Douglas Adams said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

So, here’s what’s coming up, and what we all must do to stay on track for the coming week.

On Tuesday, we have a Google Hangout with Michelle Nijhuis (nye-house). Here’s how she describes herself on her website:

After 15 years off the grid in rural Colorado, my family and I now live in White Salmon, Washington, on the north side of the Columbia River Gorge. A lapsed biologist, I specialize in stories about conservation and global change, but I’ve covered subjects ranging from border security to wrestling to my daughter’s conviction that Bilbo Baggins is a girl.

As you know from reading her work, Michelle has won many awards for her science journalism and has written or edited books and articles about how to be a science writer. Given her background, what should we ask Michelle? I’d like everyone to contribute at least one question before Tuesday’s class. You can do that on this shared Google Doc.

Also, we need to get traction on your second story for The Scope. Put your story idea on this budget. Your budget line should be pretty focused — not just a label but a statement about what the story might say and whom you would interview. For your second story, it’s fine to pursue an idea that didn’t pan out earlier.

Some of Michelle Nijhuis’ articles may provide an excellent model for your stories. Check out this piece she wrote for the Smithsonian Magazine about bats. It’s similar in structure and length (400 words) to the stories you’ve been writing!

Things we won’t get to until later in the week — but we do need to get to them

¶ I’m still working on editing your first stories. (Sorry; pulled in other directions the past few days)

¶ Last Tuesday, we discussed the “book report” assignment: Each student will read a science book and make a 10-minute presentation to the class about the book and the author. Some students haven’t selected a science book yet. Do that now on this sheet. And then everybody must select a date for when you’ll make your presentation. Here is a list of all the students in the class, the books you’ve selected and the available dates. Edit the document.

¶ Everybody must take the NewsU course: “Whose Truth: Tools for Smart Science Journalism in the Digital Age.” Do it by Oct. 11.

Got it? The priorities are: Questions for Michelle Nijhuis; budget lines for Story #2; flesh out the book reports schedule.

Agenda for Thursday, 9/29

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Here to change the world

Writing exercises and strategies

1) Finding your focus (nut graphs or hard-news ledes)

2) Sparking creativity (mindmapping and free association)

Status report on your first stories

An early overall critique of your stories … and a closer look at some of them

What do you do after I edit? How do we finish up the story?

Getting traction on the next stories you’ll do

Last year’s graduate student posters

Personal contacts: Ashley Purdy (DNA research using zebrafish)

Search AccessScienceWeb of Science … Google … U.S. patents

Also: try http://journalistsresource.org/

Upcoming guest speakers (and readings)

Next class (Tuesday, Oct. 4) features a Google Hangout with Michelle Nijhuis, science writer for The New York Times, The New Yorker, National Geographic, High Country News and other publications. She has won several awards, including this.

Read these samples of her work:

The Science Writers’ Essay Handbook: How to Craft Compelling True Stories in Any Medium

The Science and Art of Science Writing (NYTimes)

Michelle Nijhuis’s Brief Guide to Writing Reported Essays (The Open Notebook)

Friend or Foe? Crows Never Forget a Face, It Seems (NYTimes)

Frozen Sperm Offer a Lifeline for Coral (NYTimes)

AFTER A HUNDRED YEARS OF THE PARK SERVICE, WHAT’S NEXT? (The New Yorker)

HACKING THE BREAST PUMP (The New Yorker)

After one record-setting wildfire, a Washington county prepares for more (High Country News)

And you might skim Michelle’s collected works at:

Published articles — a list on Michelle Nijhuis’ website

Books and chapters — also from her website

From The New Yorker

From High Country News

From Last Word on Nothing

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Have you reserved your seat for the Oct. 13 panel discussion?

http://vcu.libcal.com/event/2831480?f=h

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Nov. 4-5 event

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Book report plan