Sense About Science Surveys Journalists About the Interview Process

Sense About Science Surveys Journalists About the Interview Process

Just in time for ScienceWriters2015, Sense About Science USA has published the preliminary results of a major survey of science writers aimed at helping scientists know what to expect when they're interviewed by a journalist.

Designed by Neda Afsarmanesh, deputy director of Sense About Science USA, the survey asked reporters to share insights about their typical reporting process beforeduring, and after an interview with a scientist/source. 

The results make useful reading—not just for scientists, who can use them to prep for their next encounter with a reporter, but for...

Shuttle Schedule Announced for Alternate Hotel Guests

Shuttle Schedule Announced for Alternate Hotel Guests

At least 60 ScienceWriters2015 participants are staying at one of our alternate conference hotels: the Fairfield Inn & Suites, the Hampton Inn, or the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

From Friday through Tuesday, buses will shuttle guests between the alternate hotels and the conference sites, courtesy of Knight Science Journalism at MIT. Today we posted the detailed shuttle schedule—please check it out here at the main ScienceWriters2015 meeting site.

The three alternate hotels are all...

Robots, Autonomy, and "The Perfect Five": David Mindell Offers a Sneak Peek of His Lunch With a Luminary Talk

Robots, Autonomy, and "The Perfect Five": David Mindell Offers a Sneak Peek of His Lunch With a Luminary Talk

One new feature of the New Horizons in Science portion of ScienceWriters2015 is an expanded, two-day edition of Lunch With a Luminary (known at previous conference as Lunch With a Scientist). Seven MIT and Broad Institute researchers will talk about their work over box lunches on Sunday, 11 October. And on Monday, 12 October, conference attendees will split up again for lunches with eight MIT researchers, plus a special panel on innovation in Kendall Square.

As a kind of appetizer, I conducted a brief, one-question Q&A with David Mindell, one of the Monday lunch speakers, about the themes of his hot-off-the-presses book, Our Robots, Ourselves...

ComSciCon Comes to ScienceWriters2015; Join Joe Palca and Christie Aschwanden for a Kickoff Panel on October 9

ComSciCon Comes to ScienceWriters2015; Join Joe Palca and Christie Aschwanden for a Kickoff Panel on October 9

As more than 800 journalists and public information officers descend on Cambridge for ScienceWriters2015, something unusual will be happening in and around the meeting: a group of science graduate students called ComSciCon will be using it as a living laboratory for building their science communication skills. You're invited to get a taste of the whole effort at an opening keynote panel on the MIT campus on Friday, from 3:30 to 5:00 pm; read on for the details...

Bash at the Boston Globe: A Preview of the Sunday Night ScienceWriters Party

Bash at the Boston Globe: A Preview of the Sunday Night ScienceWriters Party

After a full day of professional development workshops run by NASW and another full day of New Horizons in Science briefings run by CASW, ScienceWriters2015 attendees will be ready to kick back and party on Sunday night, 11 October. And this year we'll be able to do that in style, thanks to STAT, the new life sciences publication from Boston Globe Media. 

We've been getting a lot of questions about the party, so here's the full rundown...

Spend a Year at MIT Writing for the School of Engineering

Spend a Year at MIT Writing for the School of Engineering

Most ScienceWriters2015 attendees will be in Cambridge for only five days, October 9-13. But one lucky writer could get the opportunity to stay for a year. That's thanks to a one-year writing position being advertised by the MIT School of Engineering, one of the meeting's Silver sponsors.

Chad Galts, the director of communications at the School of Engineering, wrote this week to ask if I could help spread the word about the position. "You have a lot science writers coming here next month, and I’m looking to hire one," Chad said. 

Indeed we do. Below are a few details about the position. 

What's So Special About Kendall Square?

What's So Special About Kendall Square?

Today, the innovation news site Xconomy, founded by former MIT Technology Review editor-in-chief Robert Buderi, has bureaus in 10 technology hubs around the country. But when I joined the staff there in the summer of 2007, it covered just one place: Kendall Square. The geographical focus was spelled out in the site logo, which said Xconomy Kendall Square. It was hyperlocal news, taken to an extreme. 

Buderi's original insight was right. If a journalist wanted to understand how innovation worked—how ideas bubble up from the lab bench to the garage to the venture capital boardroom to the marketplace, and how networks of real people with overlapping passions make it all happen—then there was no better place to start. 

Xconomy Kendall Square eventually became Xconomy Boston, and the company extended its coverage to other innovation clusters like Seattle and San Francisco, where I was editor until 2014. But Kendall Square remains as the company's headquarters and, in effect, its jewelbox. It's a place to which academic scientists and engineers, programmers and designers, investors and real estate whizzes, companies large and small, and entrepreneurs at every experience level gravitate and mix with such density that a kind of fusion—and the accompanying release of energy—can't help but result. 

Boston Consulting Group has rightly called this tiny district at the western end of the Longfellow Bridge "the most innovative square mile on earth." As the area's obvious physical transformation continues (as described in a terrific Michael Blanding article in MIT Technology Review's MIT News section this month), more and more people are asking how it got that way, and how it's holding on to its lead. And during the week of ScienceWriters2015, students of innovation—the transformation of research insights into marketable products—will have several great opportunities to explore the answers....

MIT Will Be the Hub of the Universe for Science Writers This October

MIT Will Be the Hub of the Universe for Science Writers This October

In an online article today, MIT News, the Institute's official source for announcements, community news, research coverage, and faculty profiles, offered a fact-packed preview of ScienceWriters2015.

"Every autumn since 1983, science writers have arrived at MIT in groups of eight to a dozen to take part in the Knight Science Journalism (KSJ) fellowships at MIT — the world’s best-known and most prestigious mid-career training program for journalists covering science, technology, health, and the environment," the article begins. "But this year in October, MIT will witness a gathering of science writers on an entirely different scale. Over the Columbus Day weekend, the Institute will welcome some 600 to 800 science communicators for ScienceWriters2015, the largest annual gathering of science writers in the nation."

Read the rest here.

Last Chance to Shine On Stage at The Story Collider

Last Chance to Shine On Stage at The Story Collider

The Story Collider's name is more than just a playful riff on particle physics. Every show produced by the organization involves very real collisions. Collisions between the performers' personal stories and their listeners' emotions. Between the audience's senses—dulled by the daily onslaught of canned digital content—and the raw, risky, unmediated nature of a live, in-person performance. And perhaps most of all, between traditional notions of science as a dispassionate, evidence-driven pursuit and the messy, funny, uncontrollable, very human experiences shared on stage by the show's storytellers, who are often scientists.

Story slams and similar live events have become such an important form of engagement between science, scientists, journalists, and the public that we didn't want to omit the genre from this year's conference. That's why we've been working with...

Get to Know STAT at ScienceWriters2015

Get to Know STAT at ScienceWriters2015

Obviously, science and medical journalists haven't been immune to the last decade's epidemic of downsizing in many big-city newsrooms. So it's unusual to hear about a news organization that's scaling up and hiring writers and editors who understand health and biotech. 

But that's exactly what's happening at STAT, the forthcoming online-only life sciences publication from Boston Globe Media. And at ScienceWriters2015, you'll have two big chances to learn what the new organization, led by former Politico editor Rick Berke, is up to.

Well, actually, the folks at STAT have already started to explain what they're up to. "We’re coming at this with no small amount of ambition," writes longtime New York Times reporter Bob Tedeschi, who...

Travel Update: More Rooms, Shuttle Buses Added at Alternate Hotel Locations

Travel Update: More Rooms, Shuttle Buses Added at Alternate Hotel Locations

[Updated 9/1/15, see below] For weeks now, we've been urging ScienceWriters2015 attendees to book their hotel rooms early. A lot of you listened to us—so many that our block of conference-rate rooms at the main conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, is now sold out. Rooms at the Hyatt must now be booked at market rates, which are well over $300/night.

We have a great conference planned, and we don't want anyone to stay home because of a shortage of affordable rooms. So we've been scrambling this week to come up with a richer package of alternatives for folks who aren't staying at the Hyatt.

Today we're pleased to share four important updates....

All About HUBweek

All About HUBweek

I wish we could claim it was our idea to schedule ScienceWriters2015 right after two of the most exciting science-and-technology events in Boston's history—Solve and HUBweek—but in fact, it's mostly an accident of good timing. One that you should take advantage of by coming to Boston early!

HUBweek, October 3-10, is a weeklong celebration of innovation and creativity featuring more than 40 events and experiences showcasing the world-class work happening at the intersection of art, science, and technology across Boston and Cambridge. The events are 

Added Life Sciences Tours Available for Registration

Added Life Sciences Tours Available for Registration

We think it would be a crime to visit Cambridge for a science writers' conference without taking some time to explore the area's bustling R&D scene. Many of you evidently agree, as registration for the special field trips, tours, and events organized by Knight Science Journalism at MIT has been extremely brisk. Several tours—including the trips to the Broad Institute, BU's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA—are already "sold out" or nearly so.

Today I'm pleased to announce that three additional tours are now available for registration, all in the life sciences realm. They include a Monday Oct. 12 tour of LabCentral, a Tuesday Oct. 13 tour of Biogen, and a Tuesday, Oct. 13 tour of Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

In fact, these tours have been part of the official ScienceWriters2015 listings since the meeting site went live in early August. But due to a glitch...

Keeping ScienceWriters2015 Accessible: Information for Attendees with Disabilities

Keeping ScienceWriters2015 Accessible: Information for Attendees with Disabilities

We’re working hard to make sure that everyone who attends ScienceWriters2015 is able to enjoy the full conference experience. In this post, I want to share some key information for wheelchair users and other attendees with disabilities. Because the conference and related tours, events, and parties will be spread across so many locations, there are a lot of details to know about.

First off, a request: If you have any questions or requests regarding accessibility, please reach out to me directly at wroush@mit.edu. The earlier we’re aware of your plans, the more time we’ll have to make sure everything is ready for you. For example...

CASW's New Horizons in Science Comes Home to Cambridge

CASW's New Horizons in Science Comes Home to Cambridge

There’s a little-known piece of history that makes Cambridge an especially apt location for the 2015 New Horizons in Science briefing organized by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing as part of ScienceWriters2015. The very first New Horizons meeting in 1963 was held here, at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, with support from MIT and Harvard...

Everything Else You Need to Know About ScienceWriters2015

Everything Else You Need to Know About ScienceWriters2015

You’ve got questions about ScienceWriters2015. We’re here to help answer them. First, check out the extremely useful FAQ over at the main meeting site—then come back here for a few more tidbits.

Why should I attend ScienceWriters2015?

Well, we don’t mean to brag, but we think it’s going to be one of the best ScienceWriters20XX conferences ever. First of all, it’s in Cambridge, one of the world capitals of science. There’s never been a joint NASW-CASW conference here before. (Interesting trivia fact, though: the very first CASW New Horizons in Science event was hosted by MIT and Harvard in 1963.)

Thanks to our unique setting, we’ve been able to reach out to some of the country’s most creative and interesting researchers and get them involved as New Horizons speakers and Lunch With a Luminary hosts. If you attend, you’ll meet...

Where to Eat in Cambridge and Boston

Where to Eat in Cambridge and Boston

We're going to keep you pretty busy during ScienceWriters2015. But if you decide to take an evening to explore the area's restaurants—such as the Monday, October 12 Dine Around night—we want you to be prepared. Here's a list of places we like, roughly in order of increasing distance from the Hyatt Regency Cambridge and MIT's west campus, where most conference events will take place.

Travel Stipends Available for Kavli Science Journalism Workshop, October 9

Travel Stipends Available for Kavli Science Journalism Workshop, October 9

The mantra for this year's ScienceWriters2015 event is: come early, stay late. In the week leading up to the conference, Knight Science Journalism and other organizations in and around Cambridge are planning a cornucopia of events of interest to science, health, and environmental reporters. One of the biggest (or should we say smallest?) is our 2015 Kavli Science Journalism Workshop on Nanotechnology on Friday, October 9. In this fast-paced, half-day workshop (8:00 am - 2:30 pm), five of MIT and Harvard’s top scientists working at the nano-scale will explore their newest research and latest on promising developments in the field.