Science journalists cut through jargon and hype to convey information that’s genuinely useful to the public.
They concern themselves with food and nutrition, exercise, acupuncture and meditation, and psychology. They cover toxins that we unknowingly ingest, through lipstick, water bottles, and the ink on microwave popcorn bags. They cover controversies, such as athletes’ use of performance-enhancing drugs and the theory that vaccines cause autism. They cover trends, such as medical marijuana use and the high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Iraq War veterans. They write about the researchers who are trying to make us “better than well”—with genetic enhancements aimed at improving memory and extending the human life span. They expose fraud and inequities in the health care system. They report on climate change, renewable energy, and pollution.
The thing is, many science journalists are untrained. Unable to evaluate the significance of studies, they trumpet news that deserves skepticism and miss the troubling trends that never make it into press releases.
In the Health & Science concentration at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, students absorb statistical concepts that provide needed perspective on medical studies. They mine data to find the news that’s buried in dry policy reports. They figure out how to find expert sources and get access to patients. They learn to simplify technical subject matter without dumbing it down. And they write and produce stories that are both newsy and full of human drama.
Students in the Health & Science concentration have interned at top news outlets, including Popular Science, Psychology Today, Woman’s Day, The New York Times, Scientific American Mind, NPR’s “Science Friday,” “Radiolab,” Field & Stream online, and “Need to Know” on PBS.