Getting Some Background – A New Appreciation for the Writer

As I began this assignment, I realized how I barely know the names of any journalists. I’ve never followed specific writers, just outlets. I enjoy reading The New York Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, etc. So I had to go back and find a number of articles that I had enjoyed reading to see who they are. I take in a lot of information on a daily basis and never gave much thought to the content creator, as I assume most people wouldn’t care who I was — just whether my writing was good and informative.

I started with names I already knew, mostly from the My Life As series, such as Sandra Rodriguez Nieto, David Carr, and Marcy McGinnis. Then I moved on to writers in my area of interest. I had to do some research to find names and see who I wanted to follow, but it came down to James Gorman, a science writer for the New York Times who wrote an article earlier this week titled, For Mule Deer, An Incredible Journey, about scientists helping to preserve the migration routes of an endangered deer species in the midwest. The article was a beautifully written narrative piece, while still being extremely informative and easy to read. This appealed to me as it’s precisely the kind of writing I’d like to do. I also followed a few more science writers, such as Carl Zimmer from the New York Times and Phil Plait, who writes the Bad Astronomy blog for Slate, which I also follow.

Wired.com was a great place to find more names, as I often browse their many science blogs. I followed Maryn McKenna, who writes the SuperBug blog for them, which focuses on news about infectious diseases; David S.F. Poortree, whose blog Beyond Apollo, focuses on advancements in astrophysics and space exploration; Deborah Blum, who writes the Elementals chemistry blog; Christian Jarrett, writer of Brain Watch, Wired’s psychology blog, and Samuel Arbesman who writes their sociology blog, Social Dimension. Wired has a few more specialized science blogs, all of which I follow and whose writers I followed on Twitter.  As someone interested in science communication, it was also important for me to follow some people who you might not classify as a journalist necessarily, but still take it upon themselves to inform the public through their position, such as Neil Degrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and Michio Kaku.

After rereading some of the Wired blog posts with knowledge of the writers and their backgrounds as teachers, scientists and science communicators, I definitely appreciate the articles more now and have more of an interest in caring about who the writers are.

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