Journalist’s Toolbox science resources

This collection, part of the Journalist’s Toolbox, includes links to a variety of science resources for journalists, including articles about the basics of science reporting, as well as links to science news sites and organizations of experts. See also their collection of links to environmental topics.

Job announcement: Sustainability communications and engagement manager, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Salary: Minimum $65,000 annual (12 months)
Applications due: January 3, 2023 and must be submitted online.
This position is partial remote.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Sustainability seeks a Sustainability Communications and Engagement Manager to play a central role in designing and implementing strategic communications efforts, as well as maintaining the institution’s sustainability designations, providing support for Office of Sustainability project managers, working closely with students, and assisting with administrative tasks as needed.

The Office of Sustainability is the hub for sustainability news, events, and engagement opportunities at the University of Wisconsin Madison. It is part of the the Division of Facilities Planning & Management (FP&M), a full-spectrum service organization that builds, maintains, and operates the physical environment of the UW-Madison campus in support of the university’s education, research, and outreach activities. FP&M works behind the scenes to coordinate campus planning, manage design and construction, maintain and operate buildings and grounds, supply utility services, ensure health and safety, and provide parking and transportation services.


Develops and supervises the execution of communication programs and may supervise personnel and/or other resources in support of institutional or unit communication goals.

  • 15% Manages the day-to-day operational unit plans to align with strategic initiatives and to meet established objectives
  • 30% Plans, writes, and edits content for various internal and external stakeholders
  • 5% Plans and directs unit programs and/or projects to ensure adherence to deadlines and budgets
  • 5% Identifies, proposes, and implements new or revised unit operational policies and procedures
  • 30% Develops, implements, and delivers communication materials through various mediums to designated audiences
  • 5% Assists with supervising of student interns on the communications and podcast teams, in collaboration with the Student Intern Program Manager
  • 5% Develops the institution’s sustainability brand by identifying, pursuing, and maintaining
    certifications, designations, and other accolades that recognize the breadth of the university’s
    sustainability efforts.
  • 5% Supports subject matter experts and others at the Office of Sustainability in project and program

Required qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, sustainability, environmental studies, psychology, sociology, or similar field.
  • Minimum of three (3) years of professional experience in communications, marketing, editing, or similar field.
  • Demonstrated experience in writing and publishing for a variety of media channels and platforms, such as web, e-news, social media, video scriptwriting, and/or print publications.
  • Excellent editorial skills and attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing and curating visual content, such as graphics and branding collateral, for print, digital, web, and/or social media.
  • Demonstrated experience with project management, including ability to be self-motivated and to work collaboratively under tight deadlines.
  • Facility with social media and other information technology tools, such as e-marketing tools, web editing (WordPress), and/or CRM.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team in a complex, fast-paced setting.

Preferred qualifications

  • Advanced degree in communications, marketing, sustainability, environmental studies, or similar field.
  • Professional experience working in a sustainability-related field.
  • Experience working in an academic environment.
  • Experience in event planning and execution.
  • Experience dealing with challenges through influence rather than authority.
  • Knowledge of, and experience with, content strategy, user interface/user experience best practices and methods, and web accessibility best practices.
  • Experience in photography and videography, including production and editing.
  • Experience with audio editing and production, preferably in a podcast context.

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion

Reporter’s Toolbox: New Climate Trace emissions database unveiled at COP27

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Sure, there’s a lot of hype at climate change COP meetings. But the new data tool hyped by climate maven Al Gore at the recent COP27 may actually help shed light on the darkening global climate picture.

The effort is ambitious but credible: It seeks to offer quantitative estimates (or measurements) of most of the biggest greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

But is it useful for journalists?

Probably yes, and it probably will keep getting bigger and better all the time. More importantly, it may provide solid(-ish) data in a way that cuts through a lot of the greenwashing.

Where the data come from

The project is called Climate Trace and it’s a huge joint effort. Some may be relieved to learn that the data did not come from Gore himself. And skeptical journalists may be even more pleased to learn that the data did not come from companies or emitters.

Instead, more than 100 collaborators have compiled the data from some 300 satellites and 11,000 sensors. The funders and collaborators are all clearly listed. There are no oil companies among them.

I made a bunch of tools to make journalists’ lives easier. Here are my 5 favourites

Read the full post at the Online Journalism Blog.

It’s been over 25 years since I wrote the Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research (and 24 years since I started my blog ResearchBuzz), but search engines and the problem of finding things on the Internet remain just as fascinating to me. Over this summer I began trying to actually solve search challenges instead of just thinking about them — and working out techniques to minimize them.

What changed? I began learning JavaScript! I spent some time in a SkillShare class in May, started a GitHub account in June, and by Labor Day I had a collection of about twenty of what I’m calling ResearchBuzz Search Gizmos.

They’re all freely available at Some of them require API keys, but the keys are free as well. 

I love all my little Gizmos and could never pick an absolute favorite, but I think these would be most useful to journalists.

Winners: SEJ 21st Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment

The Society of Environmental Journalists is pleased to announce the winners of the SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment, which honor the best stories released from February 1, 2021, through January 31, 2022, and the best books on environmental topics published in 2021.

The SEJ contest is the world’s largest and most comprehensive environmental journalism competition. This year, 485 entries in ten categories were judged by independent volunteer panels of journalists and professors.

First place winners of SEJ’s 2022 Awards for Reporting on the Environment

Visit SEJ’s website for a full list of winners and honorable mentions.

Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting, Large
First Place

“Sacrifice Zones: Mapping Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution” by Al Shaw, Lylla Younes, Ava Kofman, Lisa Song, Max Blau, Kiah Collier, Ken Ward Jr., Alyssa Johnson, Maya Miller, Lucas Waldron and Kathleen Flynn for ProPublica, with The Texas Tribune and Mountain State Spotlight

Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting, Small

First Place

“The Department of Yes: How Pesticide Companies Corrupted the EPA and Poisoned America” by Sharon Lerner for The Intercept

Outstanding Beat Reporting, Large

First Place

“Fiona Harvey COP26 Beat Reporting” by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian

Outstanding Beat Reporting, Small

First Place

“EPA Exposed” by Sharon Lerner for The Intercept

Outstanding Explanatory Reporting, Large

First Place

“The Greenland Connection” by Tony Bartelme (senior projects reporter) and Lauren Petracca (photographer and videographer) for The Post and Courier

Outstanding Explanatory Reporting, Small

First Place

“Troubled Waters: The Salton Sea Project” by Angela Chen, Tim Kiley, Kent Kay, Sarah-Jayne Arthur, Rebecca Johnson and Justin Tarpening for KESQ

Outstanding Feature Story, Large

First Place

“Climate Change Is Exposing the Racism Behind an Oregon Water War” by Jeremy Raff, Josh Rushing, Adrienne Haspel, Erik Ljung, Laila Al-Arian and Darya Marchenkova for Al Jazeera English

Outstanding Feature Story, Small

First Place

“The Collapse of Wild Red Wolves Is a Warning That Should Worry Us All” by Jimmy Tobias for The Nation

Outstanding Student Reporting

First Place

“Hogwash” Cameron Oglesby, Duke University, published by Grist

Rachel Carson Environment Book Award

First Place

“Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World” by Emma Marris. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

The menu of collaboration: What we’ve learned from launching and managing nine industry collaboratives

This report from the Local Media Association discusses steps for success and lessons learned while launching nine reporting collaboratives, including the Covering Climate Collaborative.

Apply now for the Religion & Environment Story Project (RESP) Fellowship

The Religion & Environment Story Project (RESP) trains journalists, editors, and public-facing scholars interested in the intersection of the environment and religion. Our goal is to bridge the divide between the religion and science beats, and promote new thinking and new narratives that will inform and educate the public, especially on the climate crisis. RESP is based at Boston University and funded by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

The Religion & Environment Story Project Fellowship supports journalists, editors, and public-facing academics who are producing – or want to learn how to produce – stories at the intersection of religion and the environment. A cohort of ten fellows will gather twice over the course of six months for practical, on-the-job training designed to develop new ways of thinking about the climate crisis and the role played by religious individuals and institutions in addressing (and ignoring) it. Participants will meet with working journalists and scholars in a collaborative seminar environment that will include wide ranging discussions on religion, spirituality, the environment, climate change, and journalism. We hope this format will inspire and inform the participants while offering peer learning and support from other journalists. It should also provide expert sources and story leads that will help fellows identify and create stories that other journalists are missing. 

RESP will cover travel, food, and lodging for our two workshops. We will also pay for a year’s membership for the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) or the Religion News Association (RNA), plus registration fees for either the SEJ or RNA annual conferences. Fellows will also receive a stipend of $1,000 after completing the program and committing to produce at least one story for a general audience. The application deadline is August 25, 2022, at 11:59 pm, ET.

Learn more about the 2021-2022 Fellows and apply for the fellowship on the RESP website.

How the pandemic remade science journalism

Read the full story at Scientific American.

Reporting on COVID has fundamentally changed the way I approach science journalism. I have gained a deeper appreciation for scientific knowledge as a process, not merely an end result. I have seen that it is not enough to simply follow the science—that skepticism of authority is warranted even when that authority comes from respected public health experts. And I have learned that science is always political—despite what many scientists like to think. These lessons have been won at a terrible expense. But failing to heed them could doom us to repeat this tragedy when the next pandemic comes.

Are Journalists Reporting on the Highest-Impact Climate Solutions? Findings from a Survey of Environmental Journalists

Amanda C. Borth, Eryn Campbell, Sammi Munson, Shaelyn M. Patzer, William A. Yagatich & Edward Maibach (2022) “Are Journalists Reporting on the Highest-Impact Climate Solutions? Findings from a Survey of Environmental Journalists.” Journalism Practice 16(2-3) 443-461, DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2021.2002711

Abstract: While the most promising climate change solutions have yet to be widely implemented, journalists are well-positioned to ensure that solutions are on the public’s agenda. Here, we investigate the climate solutions reporting interests and practices of environmental journalists (N = 592), paying particular attention to negative emissions technologies (NETs). We found that most environmental journalists are reporting on adaptation and resilience stories and renewable energy stories; additionally, over half were interested in and had recently reported on negative emissions solutions. A quantitative content analysis of participants’ descriptions of their most recent negative emissions story found: (1) many of these stories did not appear to be about NETs per se, (2) participants were more likely to focus on nature-based rather than technological NETs, and (3) participants are particularly interested in reporting on the feasibility of NETs. While these results are promising, resources to support journalists in reporting about climate solutions may be helpful, particularly on navigating the nuances of negative emissions technologies.

Columbia Journalism Review publishes two-part series on decline of local news reporting, why it matters, and how to improve it

The Columbia Journalism Review recently published a two-part series by Steve Waldman on the decline of local news reporting. It’s worth a look because, as the author points out in part one, “academic studies show that the local news collapse has likely led to lower voter turnout and bond ratings, and more corruptionwasteair pollution, and corporate crime.”

Part two of the series explores how to create a better local news system, including better service for communities of color and rural areas, and looks at how to improve the business model for local news.