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Writing Science for Local Newspaper

  1. May 29, 2010 #1

    To promote understanding of science I want to write a short article every week for my local newspaper. Four articles will be sent to them as a taster to get their agreement; a snippet, a column and two full length articles.

    Four subjects that are easily accessible and also interesting. Here's what I've just thrown out,

    - Free Software & Free Culture. How this is a model for future cooperative society.
    - Terraforming Mars. Why isn't it done (money)
    - Dinosaurs & Mammals. What if they hadn't of died- I speculate they would have become intelligent (not laying out my arguments here). Also touch on common misconceptions like that of mammals being all small and how our views changed since dinosaurs shown to have feathers. Recent discovery of Dinosaur colour.
    - Linguistics and the Universal Grammar. The Triune brain and how it relates to our behaviour. Interesting theory of the Bicameral Mind.

    Thoughts? (excuse bad grammar- am tired)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    It doesn't sound like you have any knowledge or expertise in any of these subjects.

    I would suggest that if you have any expertise in something you can write about that, otherwise it would be better not to write about it.
  4. May 30, 2010 #3
    I'd say you're a person that likes to put people down to make themselves feel good. You blanketed all my topics, saying I did not have much knowledge in them without giving reasons why.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2010
  5. May 30, 2010 #4
    The subjects seem rather speculative and the first definitely seems more philosophical/political than scientific. They are perhaps more eye grabbing than less speculative topics. I figured your primary hurdle would be finding topics that people will actually be interested in reading about.

    Also, you should probably be more polite to other members and especially mentors if you want your topic to be discussed here.
    *wondering if this thread will exist by the time I hit send*
  6. May 30, 2010 #5


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    Gold Member

    You definitely don't need anyone's permission to have a go. Or deep knowledge of the area. You will soon find out whether you are cut out to be a science writer.
  7. May 30, 2010 #6
    I say you send in some really extream wierd science and see what they say.
  8. May 30, 2010 #7


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    Unfortunately ANY knowledge of scientific fields is not required for one to get a job reporting science for the media these days :frown:
  9. May 30, 2010 #8


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Yeah - I get that impression everytime I hear an interview on radio or read a newspaper about some major technology, particularly nuclear energy or aerospace. My personal experience is that 'science' journalists are more concerned about a story, and selling themselves, than they are about getting the facts fight and informing the public. But then that often appears to be the case about journalism in general - it's too often infotainment (with emphasis on entertainment).
  10. May 31, 2010 #9


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    2017 Award

    Would you prefer it if someone tore each of your premises apart?

    Let's look at your terraforming Mars statement about not being done because of money. Terraforming Mars has been covered numerous times on the forum. One of the better descriptions for why terraforming Mars isn't feasible is in https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1759493&postcount=66" by Astronuc. As you can see, it still isn't feasible no matter how much money you are willing to throw at the problem. The initial premise of your proposed topic is false which leads people to believe that you don't have much knowledge on the topic.

    If you want to write scientific articles, you need to research the topics first. This is an excellent site to do that. Search the threads for a topic that you want to write about and find out about the subject before coming up with catchy titles and ideas that (in this case) have no basis in fact. A better topic would be "Why terraforming Mars isn't feasible". I'm sure that you would be able to find plenty of information and help in writing an article like that.

    BTW, I'm not posting this in order to make myself feel good by putting you down. I'm posting this because the mentors have worked hard for years to make this a quality site and it annoys me to see them insulted and cursed at by people with 6 posts to their name (or anyone else).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
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