Science Journalism

Course description Science Journalism
Year: 2016-2017
Catalog number: 4603SCSSJT
Teacher(s):
  • E.J. van Hulst
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 3
Level: 400
Period: Semester 1, Block I, II
  • Yes Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • Yes Exchange
  • Yes Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Introduction

There is a continuous or even increasing demand for people who explain science to a wider audience. In this course, you will learn how to write a good story about science and which genres of journalism are most suitable for a particular story. You will write and revise various types of articles. The aim is to produce articles that are fit for publication in popular media. We will also discuss writing for social media. Moreover, you will learn how to conduct a good interview with your sources. And for those who still intend to work in research: how to present the results of your research in a good press release?

It is also important to know the media of written science journalism: what are the newspaper sections that matter, to which magazines or web editors should you send your stories? How does the editorial board of a science magazine select copy for publication? How does a freelancer get assignments?

Who can join this course?

The course is open to all MSc students from the Faculty of Science and to MSc students in the Biomedical Sciences program of LUMC.
Note: The Science Journalism course is also one of the sections of the course Science Communication & Society Fundamentals (17 EC). Only this section can be taken separately.

Course objectives

  • To gain insight into the field of science journalism and know the most important players.
  • To learn to see what is news and how that news is presented in a news article.
  • To know what kind of topics are relevant for journalism.
  • To know when to choose a particular genre.
  • To know the difference between a news article and a press release.
  • To learn how to build up a good feature, based on various sources.
  • To learn how to conduct a good interview.
  • To learn how to write up a profound but readable interview.
  • To be able to clarify and explain scientific information for a general audience.
  • To appreciate new journalistic genres and presentations.
  • To be able to give feedback to other students’ texts in a systematic way.
  • To be able to revise your own text by adequately incorporating other students’ feedback.

Teaching method and participation

The course will contain a mix of lectures, discussions and individual assignments. Students are expected to write several pieces in different journalistic genres and to give feedback to their peers.

Course schedule

The Science Journalism course will be taught on Tuesday mornings, every other week:

6 September – Science and the media – a complex relationship
20 September – Creating a story: how to plan a feature article
4 October – Details, context and quotes: how to explain science to the general public
18 October – How to conduct and write an interview
1 November – Science Writing for the internet and for Social Media
15 November – Hand in your Portfolio

Assessment

You will receive a grade for the second, revised version of each assignment. The assignments will be evaluated according to checklists that will be handed out in class. The final grade for this course will be the average of all the grades for the assignments. This average may be adjusted positively or negatively depending on your adherence to deadlines and on the quality of your feedback on other students’ texts.

Literature

You will receive a syllabus based on translated extracts of Henk Asbreuk en Addie de Moor (2013). Basisboek Journalistiek schrijven. Groningen: Wolters Noordhoff. The syllabus will also provide further details on preparations, content and length of the assignments, deadlines and related background information

Blackboard

There is a blackboard module for the course. Students who have applied for the course will receive a registration code for the blackboard module. Lecture notes, assignments, reading material, and important announcements can be found there.

Application

Application forms for this course can be requested through the Science Communication & Society department (infoscs@biology.leidenuniv.nl). Please apply as soon as you have decided to enroll in this course, so we have an idea of the number of students.
The class number for enrollment in uSis will become available here.

Coordinator

Dr. Anne Land (SCS program coordinator), a.m.land@biology.leidenuniv.nl.

Organization

More information about the Science Communication & Society program can be found at our website.

Languages