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This textbook is an essential guide for those wishing to become better prepared to communicate about science and technology in the public arena, whether as a technical source, journalist, freelancer, editor, or public information officer. It covers the key concepts and practical skills needed to communicate effectively about science and technology with general audiences through the media. Taking into consideration that fact that the field of science and technology writing draws students from a wide range of departments, this ground-breaking text covers all of the genres of writing that would be encountered by a staff writer, freelancer, PIO, or technical source--from hard news and feature writing to the narrative form and other genres of creative nonfiction such as the profile, review, and essay. This book unites all of these essential topics under one coherent framework, making it the most comprehensive treatment to date of the subject of science and technology writing. The book also covers best practices for the qualitative presentation in the media of quantitative information, treating genres of writing and "news and numbers" in the same volume. It uses case studies from the print, Web, and broadcast media to illustrate some of the challenges of putting scientific and statistical concepts into words in ways that are both accurate and accessible. It explores some of the most common pitfalls and difficult concepts: hypothesis testing and probability; experimental design; confusing correlation with causality; mistaking absence of evidence for evidence of absence; the statistic of one fallacy; and comparing risks. Tensions have existed between sources and communicators over issues such as accuracy, balance, and completeness of media reports on science and technology. Enhancing the quality of media coverage of technical developments will require stakeholders to understand each other's cultures, priorities, and constraints. Science and Technology Writing addresses these groups simultaneously in a common forum and promotes the kind of understanding that will be needed in order to improve the quality of media coverage and help the public make sense of the technical developments affecting our world.
Table of Contents
Introduction .Part I. Science & Technology in the News.Ch. 1 The Communication Players and Process.Ch. 2 Newsworthiness.Ch. 3 Public Information Officers.Ch. 4 Structure of News Writing.Ch. 5 Story Frames.Ch. 6 Reporting & Interviewing.Ch. 8 Display & Production.Ch. 9 Ethical & Legal Issues.Part II. News & Numbers.Ch. 10 The Process of Science and Statistical Reasoning.Ch. 11 Uncertainty.Ch. 12 Accuracy.Ch. 13. Case Studies.Part III. Creative Nonfiction.Ch. 14 Context.Ch. 15 Genres & Structure.Part IV. Professional Skills & Development.Ch. 16 Query Letters.Ch. 17 Writing Journals.Ch. 18 Building a Portfolio.Ch. 19 Resources for Science & Technology Communicators