Monthly Archives: April 2013

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#sci4hels Question Time #4 – How Should Science Journalists Deal with Breaking News?

Image: Bernard Bujold

Image: Bernard Bujold

Last week was sort of a nightmare for everyone. Between the Boston marathon bombings and ensuing man-hunt, the explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas, the earthquakes in China and Iran, the bombs in Baghdad, and whatever else I’m missing. Oh, did I mention the elvis impersonator who mailed ricin to the president? Yeah, that happened too, and nobody paid attention because we were all too busy wondering what had happened to the world. It was that kind of week.

Really, though, all the attention here in the United States was on Boston. The coverage was messy, and I don’t want to go into that. There are lots of smart people already thinking about how journalists went wrong (and right) when covering the actual events as they happened. What I want to talk about is how science journalists deal with this sort of a news event – one that is not a science story unless we make it one.

What are our obligations as science journalists when Boston happens? When Aurora happens? When Newtown happens? Do we have to cover it? And if we do, how do we do it right? We’re all going to have different opinions on this, so here are some thoughts from the #sci4hels panelists (and Bora, who we’ll call the founder of the panel). Here’s what we think.

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#sci4hels Question Time #3 – Ladybiz Edition

So, you might have noticed a few things about the #sci4hels crew. We’re early career, we like gifs, we cover a broad array of subject areas and media, and we’re all ladies.


Erin Podolak puts it this way:

Bora chose us by sifting through the work of dozens of new science journalists, by narrowing down his list slowly to make sure that he chose three panelists and a moderator whose experience and interests would make the best lineup. He ended up with four women. As four women who now have an international platform to discuss our profession, should we address our gender or not? Is it the proverbial gorilla in the room? Do we have some kind of duty to use our powers for good to try to tackle feminism and journalism just because we can? Are we putting some kind of target on our backs for criticism by calling attention to our gender?

Among the #sci4hels team, we talked a bit about whether or not we should touch the gender issue. Together, we decided to go there. We all have different reasons, I think, but regardless of why, we asked the question. And I think we got a ton of useful answers from all sorts of different people. So, without further ado, here’s my summary of the conversation. Read More →

Podcast Pride Party – My Favorite Podcasts to Work On

Today, the podcast that Douglas Main and I made about a particularly successful tumbleweed saleswoman was posted to Boing Boing. That podcast was definitely one of the most fun to work on, and it got me looking back at some old podcasts I’ve made. So, in the spirit of blatant self promotion, here are my very favorites of my own podcasts in recent memory.

Tumbleweeds – this one has a quirky twist ending, which is what made it so fun to work on.

The Bottle Story – this is a much more recent podcast that I actually never showed to anyone, but I really like.

Girl Talk – sometimes girls, like, talk, sort of funny? But chances are that as you chastise them, you’re picking it up too. This one went along with this story in the New York Times. (LISTEN HERE)

Phantom Vibrations – you know that feeling when you think your phone is ringing, you’re SURE your phone is ringing, but it’s not? Here’s why that happens.

That’s Disgusting – but why? What makes something disgusting?


Do you have some podcasts you really like? Nominate them for Science Studio! We’re collecting the v

#sci4hels Question Time #2 – How do you Get Noticed?

hobbits clapping

Welcome back to Question Time! Last week we had our second Twitter discussion, and let me tell you people it either went way better or way worse depending on how much you like corn gods. Here’s the Storify:

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