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Reporting Science & Genetics

Communicating Science



Reporting Science News: Resources for the Media


Challenges in Reporting General Science News:


National Association of Science Writers (NASW): “Communicating Science News: Some Pitfalls in Reporting Science News” – In their guide to “Communicating Science News,” the NASW outlined some of the challenges that scientists and reporters will encounter when attempting to communicate about science to the general public. The guide addresses the following issues that sometimes generate misunderstanding and tension:

Sciencebase Science Blog: “In What We Trust” (Feb 27, 2008) – Does the growing number of scare stories feed a healthy public skepticism of technology, or does it simply result in a reluctance to trust technical expertise and science? Science writer David Bradley addresses this common problem experienced by many of his fellow journalists who repeatedly encounter obstacles in reporting science news that are often based on unfounded qualms and misrepresented statistics.


Related Journal Articles:


Mass Media and Medicine: Challenges and Opportunities
Medical Student JAMA (msJAMA) - Feb 13, 2002

Journalists as Change Agents in Medicine and Health Care
Medical Student JAMA (msJAMA) - Feb 13, 2002


General Science Communication & Science Writing Resources:


Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB): “Communicating Science” – FASEB’s Web site includes links to online resources for scientists that offer tips and advice on how to effectively communicate about science to the media, the general public, politicians and teachers/students.

Social Issues Resource Centre (SIRC): “Guidelines on Science and Health Communication” – This resource from SIRC, a non-profit organization based in the U.K., contains detailed guidelines and preparation checklists to help print and broadcast journalists understand how to understand and effectively report on scientific research results, and how to communicate this complex information to the general public.

Council of Science Editors: “Teaching Key Groups to Communicate Science to Nonspecialists” (1997) – This article from the Council’s CBE Views publication explains various ways that journalists and scientists can increase their science communication skills; it also provides suggestions for a number of different resources and approaches that can be applied in learning and/or teaching science writing skills.

The Poynter Institute: “Science Meets Story – Tips and Tactics” (Nov 10, 2002) – In his speech at the 2002 Nieman Narrative Journalism Conference, Edward O. Wilson provides guidelines and tips for science/health writers that describe how the basic concepts of good narrative journalism are also applicable to reporting science news.

The Poynter Institute: “Story Framing: Four Vital Ingredients” (Aug 20, 2001) –This article describes a set of guidelines for framing news stories based on a presentation at the 2001 National Writers Workshop. The author suggests that all journalists – particularly science/health writers – should use these framing guidelines as “a tool (not a rule) to get a handle on the story and break it down.”

National Public Radio (NPR) Transcript: “The Media Report” – This transcript of an interview with Ira Flatow, the host of NPR’s “Science Friday” program, features a discussion about the relationship and rapport between scientists and the media.

Psci-com: Science Communication Resource Database – Psci-com is an online database (managed by the U.K.’s Wellcome Trust Library) that provides public access to online resources relating to science communication, education and public engagement.


Journalism Groups & Resources for Science, Health & Medical Writers:


The following groups work to support and advance science, health and medical journalism, and extend the professional expertise of writers in this field:






The American Society of Human Genetics, Incorporated

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