I wondered what I was going to do with the stack of business cards I gathered from the World Conference of Science Journalists in London. Then a friend of mine, Coturnix from A Blog Around the Clock gave me the idea of interviewing partcipants. So kicking starting off, what I hope will be a series of posts, is Deborah Blum, a fellow WFSJ blog member, and one heck of a writer. I’m a huge fan of her book Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death. Science is not nearly as interesting as the people behind it (or writing about it). I give you Deborah Blum.
Please tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I’m a freelance science writer and a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’m also a past-president of the National Association of Science Writers (US) and a board member of the World Federation of Science Journalists. I’ve written five books, the latest, The Poisoner’s Handbook, will be out in February. Whew! I’m the daughter of a biologist and grew up with science. I’ve just always liked telling stories about science, trying to get people to see what a fascinating and human enterprise it is.
Why did you decide to attend the WCSJ?
I moderated a panel and I needed to attend as a board member. But more than that, I’ve learned to really love the connection with science journalists around the world. It’s made me really think about how stories are told – or need to be told – from many different perspectives.
What was the most interesting aspect of the conference?
I went to some great sessions on investigative reporting and on the changing role of the media. But what made them exceptional was the different contexts from different cultures.
What did you learn?
It made me think about what a western perspective I have. I’ve been trying since to read and listen to science reporting outside my normal culture zone.
What types of science media do you read/watch/listen? What would you recommend?
I’m a reader. So I read a lot of news websites so that I can get different approaches to the same information. I find that different sources are good on different stories.
Where do you go from here?
I’m program chair of the next World Conference of Science Journalists. It’ll be in Cairo in June 2011. I hope you’ll be there!