Workshop reporters tackle topics from vitriol to wildfires at ScienceWriters2020

Positive counter-speech can help to curb online hate speech, research suggests. Credit: Dennis Skley Creative Commons (CC BY-ND 2.0)

How technology amplifies racism. The high cost of climate-stoked fires in Australia and the Arctic. How Native American communities are fighting COVID-19, and how people can fight hate online. What a new rover will teach us about Mars.

These topics and more were the focus of CASW’s 58th New Horizons in Science briefings, produced by New Horizons Program Director Wayt Gibbs and delivered online in October as part of the virtual ScienceWriters2020 conference. And among those reporting this year’s science stories were a dozen science graduate students who participated in ComSciCon-SciWri20, the third ComSciCon workshop held in collaboration with CASW and in conjunction with a ScienceWriters conference. Funding was provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

ComSciCon workshops are organized by early-career scientists interested in building skill in science communication. For this special workshop, CASW recruited senior science writers to serve as mentors and to edit the students’ work. Each piece went through a peer review process within the workshop group, then at least two rounds of editing and fact-checking supervised by chief editor Czerne Reid of the University of Florida and CASW Executive Director Rosalind Reid.

This year’s mentors were Athena Aktipis, Ashley Braun, Hannah Hickey, Liz Devitt, Pete Farley, Hannah Hickey, Jane Hu, Jeanette Kazmierczak, William Kearney, Betsy Mason, Ashley Smart, Tom Ulrich, Jon Weiner, and Liz Zubritsky. Additional editing was done by Li Devitt, Bryn Nelson, and Joann Rodgers.

This year’s pieces may be found on the New Horizons Newsroom page.