Science Writing at Universities
Review of Ch: Universities, by Earle Holland, from the book “A Field Guide for Science Writers”
Earle Holland creatively describes the culture and job of science writing at universities. He discusses some of the false beliefs most people have about the work and brings transparency to what it is actually like to be a science writer at a university. At diverse and research-oriented places, like the Ohio University, the challenge lies in prioritizing the stories rather than looking for one.
Science writers may be referred to as Public Information Officers or PIOs at Universities. These people are required to stay updated with all kinds of research going on in the university and to be able to switch instantaneously between different fields. Now the questions that arise are: What to write? And, how to write?. A science writer holds allegiance towards the university as well as towards the researcher. The topics can be ranging from psychology to technology, and literature surveys to experiments and implementations. The slightest modifications in the research can lead to the spread of misinformation, which might be treacherous to society. Reviewing someone’s work needs to be done in a manner that does justice to the research and, at the same time, is fruitful for the reader.
Science Writers are accountable for the authenticity of the content delivery and the university’s reputation, as it is the reporters to whom these readings reach first. As Holland rightly describes the task as “balancing between the needs of journalism and the constraints of science”. Finally, science writing is not a cakewalk for everyone, in fact, it requires effort and time, and the trust showed by the university as well as the researchers accompanied by positive feedbacks from the reporters, and journalists who act as their primary readers.