Article Writing Dave Finley Public Information Officer National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Outline Background & Experience Types of Articles Writing Process: Working Example Adapting the Writing to the Audience Advice for Scientific Writing
Background & Experience Degrees: Political Science & Geology Newspapers: Miami Herald Sci/Med Editor Supercomputer Centers: Documentation NRAO: Public Information Officer On the Side: Occasional Freelance Hobbies: Astronomy, Ham Radio, Aviation
Types of Writing Newspapers Miami Herald, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque Tribune, etc. Magazines Astronomy, Air & Space, Mercury, QST, Radio Fun, Lite Geology, Southern Sky, NM Journal of Science Books Author: Morse Code: Breaking the Barrier Editor: Radio Interferometry: The Saga and the Science Chapter Author: Preserving the Astronomical Sky Organizations & Strategies in Astronomy III State of the Universe 2008
Writing Process Working Example: Press Release • Scientific Content • Target: General Public • Often Used Verbatim • Process Essentially Same as for Magazine Article, etc.
Writing Process Basic Principle: Learn First, Write Next • Read the Scientific/Technical Paper • Interview Author(s), Clarify & Amplify Important Points • Identify Potential Graphics, Get Work Started on Them • Prepare Draft • Review Draft with Author(s), Revise • Endure Institutional Review Process • Assemble Text/Graphics Package • Issue Release/Publish on Web
Adapting the Material to the Audience Original: Technical Paper, Jargon, Equations, Complex Graphs & Charts Press Release/Article: Language for Nonscientists
Adapting the Material to the Audience Know and understand the material Translate the jargon Help develop simplified graphics Put plain-language explanations into quotes Explain the background Put the new discovery into context
Advice for Scientific Writing Living in Interesting Times Some Unchanged/Unchanging Essentials
The Media Revolution New Online Editions Web Publications Cable Networks Blogs Podcasts Vodcasts YouTube Facebook Old Newspapers Magazines Evening News
What Hasn't Changed, and Won't Good Storytelling Lively Writing Clarity Accuracy
Summary Understand Your Topic Understand Your Audience Keep It Lively Keep It Accurate Keep Up With Technology, Trends Enjoy the Ride!