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MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

Elevating the Discourse
The Knight Science Journalism Fellows at MIT

 

 

   

                          "The field of journalism plays a crucial role
                          in helping the public understand science.
                          To get it right, journalists need to get the
                          science right, and then make it comprehensible
                          to the lay public."

                                — Nick Clark, Anchor and Correspondent,
                                         Knight Fellow 2013-14




 

A formidable practice

Science journalism is the central way many of us learn how advances in science and technology are affecting and changing our lives — in everything from daily choices about food or health care, to issues that impact the planet as a whole.

But crafting great science journalism is a formidable challenge. Science journalists must be schooled deeply in complex scientific and technological practices, theories, and information. They must have superb skills in writing, video, and other media that can convey the facts, import, and implications of new discoveries and data. They must be ace reporters, bringing critical thinking and hard questions to their investigations. They must have command of language that is both nuanced enough to do justice to intricate ideas, and clear and compelling enough to engage a broad public audience.

For the past 30 years, the Knight Science Journalism (KSJ) program at MIT, has been helping talented science journalists meet that challenge.
 

A world leader 

Now the leading fellowship program in the world for science and technology journalists, the MIT Knights program admits 12 to 15 seasoned journalists each year to spend two terms at MIT honing their science reporting skills, while working alongside scientists and researchers.

The selected journalists come from all over the globe, and as alumni, form an ever-growing community of international colleagues. This year the KSJ program welcomed 11 journalists from six countries, who cover a range of scientific fields, including climate change, medicine, human health, and quantum mechanics. 

SHASS Communications recently spoke with the current Knight Fellows, to hear their perspectives on their fellowship year at MIT, and their views about the purposes and rewards of their field.
 

Click on the "Interview" links for a short Q&A with each MIT Knight Fellow.
 


 

                                                 MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellows 2013-14 
  

 

Catalina Arévalo

Environment Correspondent
EFE News Agency

 

"If journalists don’t understand the science of climate change how can they effectively inform the public about the issues?"

Interview

 

 

 

 

Aleszu Bajak

Freelance Science Writer

 

"With the resources at MIT and Harvard, we’re growing our knowledge base and contact lists to hopefully change the conversation about some of the most salient scientific issues of our time." 

Interview

 

 

 

 

Julia Belluz

Writer, Senior Editor
Maclean's, Medical Post

 

"Good science journalism involves engaging critically with science and putting it into context. We should report on science with the same thoroughness and skepticism we would apply to anything else."

Interview

 

 

 

 

Nick Clark

Anchor, Correspondent
Al Jazeera English

 

"The field of journalism plays a crucial role in helping the public understand science. To get it right, journalists need to get the science right, and then make it comprehensible to the lay public."

Interview

 

 

 

 

Mark Harris

Freelance science and technology journalist

 

"Examining history through a lens of technology not only helps us understand how the world we live in came to be, it can also lend a perspective on how to tackle similar issues of trade, power, and intellectual property today."

Interview

 

 

 

 

Lynda Mapes

Seattle Times

 

"Our job is to go out in the field, into the laboratories, and into the libraries to tell stories with plain language so people will engage and come back for more." 

Interview

 

 

 

 

Jason Palmer

Science and technology reporter
BBC News



"As a former scientist — one who would have loved to be at MIT as a student years ago — there’s simply no better academic destination than MIT, and no better fellowship focused on the particular craft of science journalism."

Interview

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Sahula

Freelance producer, cameraman, editor, and animator

 

"The Knight Fellows share a sense that MIT is offering us a unique opportunity to interact with scientists and researchers as they do their work."

Interview

 

  

Suggested Links

MIT SHASS | Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT
Website

Knight Science Journalism Fellows
Brief Biographies of all current Fellows

MIT News | Archive story
Making a Mark on Science Journalism 

MIT SHASS | Program in Science, Technology, and Society
Website

MIT SHASS | Graduate Program in Science Writing
Website

 


Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Writer: Kierstin Wesolowski