How can we solve the diversity dearth in U.S. science writing?

How can we solve the diversity dearth in U.S. science writing?

Science writing in the U.S. has a diversity problem. One facet of this is representation: In 2018, NASW reported that 88% of its members are white — whereas the 2017 U.S. Census estimates 61% of the nation is white, 18% Hispanic/Latinx, 13% black, 1% Native American, and so on.

But an equally essential facet — for all science writers — is acculturating ourselves and our craft to diverse perspectives and practices. A more inclusive science writing culture helps make science more relevant and digestible to broader audiences — fulfilling our duty as science writers and journalists.

So, how can we address the dual-natured problem of diversity in science writing?

As the opening session of ScienceWriters2019, this is an opportunity for our community to foster healthy conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion in our craft and in our profession. Through anecdote, example, and story, this session will illuminate our industry's historic lack of inclusion; present best practices for incorporating perspectives of people outside the majority culture; and share how we might exercise humility for these perspectives. It will also provide tools for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in science writing — whether in employment practices or in editorial craft — and incentivize NASW members to adopt a bottom-up approach to promote inclusivity in our organization.

Overall, the session will demonstrate that diversity matters to our national community of science writers. Addressing diversity means taking responsibility as science writers to analyze the implications of science to society — where environment, health, sociology, and politics intertwine with our lives and communities. Solving the diversity dilemma — in our craft and our professional institution — isn't just addressing issues unique to communities of color. It is of inherent benefit to our collective well-being — and to our craft as science communicators.

Time:
Saturday, October 26th, 8:30 am to 10:00 am
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Location:
Alumni Ballroom
Speaker(s):
Marie Hardin
  Professor of Journalism and Dean of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, Penn State, State College, Pa.
Marin Hedin
  Assistant director of media relations, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
Kendra Pierre-Louis
  Reporter, New York Times climate team, New York, N.Y.
Moderator(s):
Clinton Parks
  Freelance writer, Washington, D.C.
Kelly April Tyrrell
  Senior science writer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisc.
Organizer(s):
Ben Young Landis
  Writer/creator, Creative Externalities; executive co-chair, Capital Science Communicators (CapSciComm), Sacramento, Calif.
Clinton Parks
  Freelance writer, Washington, D.C.
Kelly April Tyrrell
  Senior science writer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisc.