Arguing with the Finkbeiner Test

Apparently we’re feminine/ist this week, or so far Emma and I are.  I want to argue about the Finkbeiner Test.  The test began with a heroic vow:  I would write a profile of a woman scientist without the clichés that litter these profiles.  The test took off when Christie wrote a post about my post […]

Better Science Writing Through Improv

Those of us who try to communicate complicated things for a living are usually told, early on by some wiser person, to know our audiences. To know our readers, in my case. I’ve always taken this pretty seriously—which is to say, I take all of you seriously. I don’t know your names (except for Mom—hi, […]

Guest Post: The Weight of the Eclipse

2017 was the year of the Great American Eclipse, and I live in its path. I also write about the Earth, moon, and sun for a living. So I was determined to not only cover the eclipse, but own it. Like many creative people, I am happiest when I am doing work for myself, and […]

Mantras for Writers

We’re writers. We like words. We don’t always like writing. Or maybe we just need a little nudge sometimes. Today we’ve collected some of the inspirational (or harassing, or shaming, or whatever works for us) quotes that we have posted around our computers. Maybe some of these will work for you. Christie: I am writing […]

I Have So Many Ideas, I Have No Ideas At All

Whenever I talk to students or aspiring journalists there is one question I dread. It’s also a question I can almost guarantee someone will ask. And it’s this: “Where do you get your ideas?” I usually answer first, with a performative groan. I hate this question, I say. It’s a good one of course. It’s […]

Redux: Newsprint is dead. Long live newsprint!

This post first ran in 2013. I died a little inside when I heard about the recent Today Show interview in which Jeff Bezos said, “I think printed newspapers on actual paper may be a luxury item. It’s sort of like, you know, people still have horses, but it’s not their primary way of commuting to […]