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PostPosted: September 20th, 2009, 9:37 am 

Joined: March 8th, 2004, 4:38 am
Posts: 2101
Location: Botswana
Because of the economic crisis I am back to freelancing for our dialy paper. I am trying to specilise in breaking science news. The pay is really crap and I need to be quite careful about the time I spend on stories. Basically I want to make the breaking science news understandable to readers and let them see how it impacts on them.

Here is my process:
I go to science news sites and read the article I'm interested in. I take a few notes.
From there whenever possible (and I try to choose topics where this is possible) I go to the publication online where the original published paper is. I read it and take notes.
I then usually do background reaserch around the topic from other sources, I like to get WHO stats etc to include at the end.
I occassionally read other articles that have covered the same breaking news and write additioanl notes.
Sometimes I find bios of the researchers and write notes form there
I usually get quotes form the researchers on their university web sites and I acknowledge that in the article

Then- I use my notes to write the article. Am I doing everything properly? I'm just a bit concerned when I don't interview a live person or move my body to the place and witness with my own eyes. I always get nervous I'm doing it wrong.

Thanks in advance for any help.

"I am building a stairway to the stars. I have the authority to take the whole of mankind up there with me.
That is why I write." - Bessie Head

 Post subject:
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2009, 1:48 pm 

Joined: August 29th, 2005, 4:46 pm
Posts: 106
Location: Gulf Coast
This is a little different from what I do now, but why can't you interview a live person? Sometimes you run across the name and can call them. I actually did that in one of my college classes. Wanted a little background on a new process - and I ended up talking to the scientest who invented it! He said he would send me his research notes (I told him it was for a class paper) but I had to get the professor to swear it would go no further as the patents hadn't been filed yet. Too cool - he sent right away - I got an A. Anyway, point is, a lot of people like to talk about what they are doing. Especially in the sciences. They work in such a closed enviornment and feel disconnected. Or, in general, you could befriend some other scientists and have them on call. I have friends in church who have advanced degrees in Chemistry and Biology and they let me pick their brains. Also, museums sometimes have staff that can help. Just suggestions because quotes seem to help. Sorry this is so long and not what you were looking for.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2009, 7:48 pm 

Joined: July 14th, 2004, 8:45 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: australia
I'm not a journalist, nor a science boffin, but I do write articles about books and authors, and I've found that many authors are quite happy to be interviewed via email. This is especially helpful if they live a long way away, or even O/S, because it sure saves a big phone bill!
I send an short simple first email introducing myself and telling them I want to write an article about them and their work, and ask if they would be willing to answer a few questions via email. I haven't been turned down yet. Then I send as many questions as I can possibly think of, with the proviso that they needn't answer all of them. I enclose it in the body of the email; then all they have to do is click reply and fill in the blanks. Works well.
Good luck with it Lolok.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 19th, 2009, 1:10 pm 

Joined: April 2nd, 2004, 2:54 pm
Posts: 58
I agree with the others, you need to get your own quotes. You'll probably be surprised at how easy it will be. People love to talk about their area of expertise.
Good luck


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