BioNews 1000: Our contributors on why they write for us
Progress Educational Trust03 June 2019
More than 200 volunteers have written for BioNews over the years, many of them having completed the BioNews writing scheme, which gives Masters and PhD students a thorough grounding in writing news and reviews.
Many of those who have completed the BioNews writing scheme have gone on to sparkling careers in science writing. Among BioNews alumni are Dr Joseph Jebelli, author of 'In Pursuit of Memory: The fight against Alzheimer's', which was shortlisted for the 2017 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize, and Dr Marianne Kennedy (née Neary), shortlisted for the 2011 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize for her essay 'Freedom through Genetics'.
Some of our writers contribute for many years, our most prolific being Antony Starza-Allen, a PhD student at the University of Kent and former legal editor of BioNews, who has authored more than 350 stories.
For our 1000th issue, five of our writers told us why they write for BioNews.
'I've always had a love for writing, particularly scientific writing, so I predominantly [write for BioNews] for the enjoyment of it. It also allows me to keep on top of current and breaking research within the field which is helpful for my job in embryology to ensure I'm aware of what's happening,' says Georgia Everett, an IVF laboratory practitioner at King's Fertility in London. 'My employers and colleagues are always interested in what I'm writing about each week and they think it's great that I do this work – I should even be starting a blog online in association with my clinic soon, which is ideal.'
'I love to read and write about the stories in the news which combine three really fascinating areas – fertility, scientific progress and the law,' says Suzi Denton, an associate solicitor and mediator in family law at Ellis Jones Solicitors. 'As a lawyer, we are not always known for brevity. Through my writing for BioNews, I've learnt to get to the point, quickly, in a way that engages the readers.'
'I love writing for BioNews because it's a great outlet for honing tight-deadline writing skills – and all whilst working on fascinating, important and ground-breaking research,' says James Close, a research fellow at the University of Plymouth. 'It has helped me assimilate information and write faster.' In addition to writing for BioNews, James is currently writing several longer form features for publications including Scientific American.
'I have learned to explain scientific concepts to the general public without waffling about in scientific terminology and how to properly structure an article to make it easy to read,' says Melanie Krause, a PhD student at the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at University College London. Melanie has been selected as an eLife ambassador for 2019-20, writing blog posts for eLife and drawing attention to the issues of reproducibility, open-access publishing and sustainability in science.
'While enjoying my PhD and lab work, I wanted to give science communication a go and when told about BioNews it sounded like the perfect way to gain this experience. I also enjoy the broad range of topics that I get to cover and learn about,' says Charlott Repschlager, a PhD student at King's College London. Charlott is going on from her PhD to start a career in science communication in the field of cancer research. 'I really think that my experience at BioNews has really helped me to get this post.'
If you would like to write for BioNews, please see details here.
To celebrate the grand occasion of our 1000th edition, download and print out the 'BioNews 1000' sign, and then take a photo of yourself (and/or your friends, family, colleagues or pets!) holding it.
Meanwhile, we are asking all of our readers to please donate at least £10, to help BioNews continue as a free service for another 1000editions. Make your donation here, or alternatively see other ways to donate here.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.