Writing For Popular Audiences

Technology and science are not well understood by the general public, and yet the welfare of humanity depends on the solutions that are developed in these fields.  How can citizens be more empowered to respect and understand the role of science and engineering? Can reporting science and technology improve public policy?  While journalists often report on the latest research in science and technology, it’s become apparent that scientists and engineers need to step up their own skills as communicators and writers, so that the information shared with the general public is accurate and useful. Scientists and engineers also need to think about and write about how innovations based on academic research will affect society – placing their research in a public context.

To start your thinking, read this blog post at The Conversation: New Research Must be Better Reported, the Future of Society Depends on itAndy Tattersall, Information Specialist, University of Sheffield.  Jan 8, 2018.

In this Writing Studio section, we’ve collected pointers to get you started.

  • Resources – examples of great writing online, how-to books from the library, resources for planning workshops or courses.
  • The Step-by-Step Process – how to interview researchers, tell a story, use visuals to illustrate concepts for popular audiences.
  • Career Building – How to go about making a career in sci-tech writing.


The Resources

Great examples

The Conversation


FairObserver – ScienceQuartz

Axios – Technology

Axios – Science

The Verge

Stanford News – Sci&Tech

MIT News

Emerging Worlds

Writing for Success


Examples of Research Team websites:

Library resources

Data journalism handbook : how journalists can use data to improve the news.

Gray, Jonathan; Bounegru, Liliana; Chambers, Lucy.  2012. Library: 070.40285 GRA






Resources for Teaching






 Pleasures of English- Blog Marathon

The blogs posted on this site were written as a part of a “blog marathon”, an in-class assignment for the course “Pleasures of English Studies” taken by Prof Arnapurna Rath at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar. The students, undergraduate first-years (2017), were divided into ten groups and each group was assigned a novel to read during the semester. The blog posts are analytical readings of the novels by the student groups. Each of these posts was written between 10.15 am – 10.45 am IST on 16 November 2017.



The Step-by-Step Process

Get the story

Interviewing Skills: How to Get Great Stories From Scientists, Researchers and Healthcare Professionals.  Angilee Shah. 2011 [Ctr for Health Journalism – USC Annenberg]

Interviewing Scientists. Amy Adams, Dir. of Sci. Comm., Stanford. (video)  From Coursera Course: Writing in the Sciences.

Interview Questions that Work for Newbie Science Reporters.  Christina Scott. 2012 [International Journalists Network]


Tell the Story…accurately!

The Importance of Storytelling in Science.  Jeff Atkins.  PLOS Ecology Community.  December 30, 2016.  

Writing about Science and Technology. Chapter 32, The News Manual: A Professional Resource for Journalists and the Media.  Produced by The News Manual.

Forget Fake News–the Bigger Problem in Science is PR hype!  Peter Griffiths.  Sciblogs.  Aug. 18, 2017.

Using Images, Infographics

How to Create an Infographic, Part 1: What Makes  A Good Infographic?

Visme.  June 30, 2017.

7 Data Visualization Types  You Should Be using More (and how to start).  Evan Sinar. Medium.  Feb. 15, 2016.



Career Building!

General advice

Starting a Career in Science Writing.  Andrew Fazekas, Jim Austin.  2005.

Quick Guide to Data Journalism.  Karlijn Willems.  2016.  [From DataCamp]

New to Science Writing (blog). From Nat’l Assn. of Science Writers, U.S.

Writer Resources.  from Nat’l Assn. of Science Writers, U.S.

Guides…  “…practical guides on different aspects of science writing and science journalism” from the Assn. of British Science Writers.


Conferences, Competitions

New Horizons annual conference