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SAGE Publications

Cover Image: The New York Times Reader: Science & Technology
  • Date: 03/16/2010
  • Format: Print Paperback
  • Price: $45.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-60426-481-4
  • Pages: 250
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The New York Times Reader: Science & Technology
S. Holly Stocking, Indiana University

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Science writing poses specific challenges: Science writers must engage their audiences while also explaining unfamiliar scientific concepts and processes. Further, they must illuminate arcane research methods while at the same time cope with scientific ignorance and uncertainty. Stocking’s volume not only tackles these challenges, but also includes extraordinary breadth in story selection, from prize-winning narratives, profiles and explanatory pieces to accounts of scientific meetings and new discoveries, Q&A’s, traditional trend and issue stories, reviews, essays and blog posts. These Times exemplars, together with Stocking’s guide to reading stories about science and technology, are perfect for science writers who aspire to diversify and hone their reporting and writing skills in a changing media climate. Holly Stocking is an experienced science writer, award-winning teacher, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

MORE ABOUT TimesCollege . . . a series from CQ Press
Whether it is the arts or science, medicine or business, you’ll find stories that inspire while providing readers an insider’s look into the rewards, challenges and everyday routines of beat reporting. The carefully selected pieces in each Reader cover the spectrum from news to features to analysis to blogs and other online innovations. Each volume also features these elements: 

  • Conversations with Times writers take readers behind the scenes to learn about their goals for the beat and how they got their jobs, as well as practical nuts-and-bolts information on how they report and write for a global audience in the multimedia age.
  • Story Scan break down stories into their component parts, labeling and analyzing the elements that make good stories work.
  • Making Connections at the end of most stories questions and assignments to sharpen thinking and prepare students to go out on the beat to find their own great stories.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Laura Chang


Chapter 1 Discoveries
1.1 Vital Signs-- Behavior: Better Performance After a Dreaming Nap Nicholas Bakalar
1.2 Vital Signs-- Serious Message in a Seductive Voice Eric Nagourney
1.3 Observatory--An Aesop’s Fable Might Just Be True Henry Fountain
1.4 Monkeys Think, Moving Artificial Arm as Own Benedict Carey
1.5 Study Suggests Meditation Can Help Train Attention Sandra Blakeslee
1.6 A Leap for Teleporting Between Ions Feet Apart Kenneth Chang
1.7 Cell phone Tracking Study Shows We’re Creatures of Habit John Schwartz
1.8 Parents Torn Over Fate of Frozen Embryos Denise Grady
1.9 Dieting Monkeys Offer Hope for Living Longer Nicholas Wade

Chapter 2 Meetings
2.1 Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts Andrew C. Revkin
2.2 Blind to Change, Even as it Stares Us in the Face Natalie Angier
2.3 Even if You Can’t Buy it, Happiness is Big Business Patricia Leigh Brown
2.4 Skeptics Dispute Climate Worries and Each Other Andrew C. Revkin


Chapter 3 Explanatory Features
3.1 Secrets of the Cell-- Antenna on Cell Surface Is Key to Development and Disease, Wallace Ravven
3.2 Tiny Specks of Misery, Both Vile and Useful, Natalie Angier
3.3 Basics-- For Motherly X Chromosome, Gender is Only the Beginning, Natalie Angier
3.4 Sleek? Well, No. Complex? Yes, Indeed, Erica Goode
3.5 Deadly and Yet Necessary, Quakes Renew the Planet, William J. Broad

Chapter 4 Stories about Scientists
4.1 A Conversation with Ben A. Barres--Dismissing “Sexist Opinions” about Women’s Place in Science, Cornelia Dean
4.2 A Conversation With Philip G. Zimbardo--Finding Hope in Knowing the Universal Capacity for Evil, Claudia Dreifus
4.3 Finding a Wild, Fearsome World Under Each Fallen Leaf, James Gorman
4.4 Blink Twice if You Like Me, Carl Zimmer
4.5 Scientist at Work: John Grunsfeld--Last Voyage for the Keeper of the Hubble, Dennis Overbye

Chapter 5 Trends, Issues and Other Stories
5.1 Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why, Tina Kelley
5.2 Rogue Giants at Sea, William J. Broad
5.3 Return of the Once-Rare Beaver? Not in My Yard, Cornelia Dean
5.4 Basics: A Hit in School, Maggots and All, Natalie Angier
5.5 Autopsies of War Dead Reveal Ways to Save Others, Denise Grady
5.6 Cells That Read Minds, Sandra Blakeslee
5.7 Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary Duff Wilson
5.8 Now: The Rest of the Genome, Carl Zimmer
5.9 In a Lonely Cosmos, a Hunt for Worlds like Ours, Dennis Overbye

Chapter 6 Extended Narratives
6.1 A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash, Amy Harmon 
6.2 The DNA Age -- Facing Life with a Lethal Gene, Amy Harmon
6.3 New York Times Magazine-- Toxic Shock, Nan Robertson


Cchapter 7 Editorials and Op-eds
7.1 But It’s Just a Small Black Hole, the Editorial Desk
7.2 Photos from Saturn, the Editorial Desk
7.3 This is Your (Father’s) Brain on Drugs, Mike Males

Chapter 8 Reviews
8.1 The New York Times Book Review--Mind Matters, Steven Johnson
8.2 Film Review--Heroes of Science Through a Rose-Colored Lens, Stephen Holden
8.3 Movie Review--Resentment over Darwin Evolves into a Documentary, Jeannette Catsoulis

Chapter 9 Essays
9.1 Essay --A Boy’s Life, Guided by the Voice of Cosmic Wonder, Dennis Overbye
9.2 Essay--Human DNA, the Ultimate Spot for Secret Messages (Are Some There Now?), Dennis Overbye

Chapter 10 Blogs and Columns
10.1 Dot Earth --On Elephants’ Memories, Human Forgetfulness and Disaster, Andrew C. Revkin
10.2 TierneyLab--Why Not Bring a Neanderthal to Life?, John Tierney
10.3 The Wild Side --Wanted: Intelligent Aliens for a Research Project, Olivia Judson
10.4 Findings--Message in What We Buy, but Nobody’s Listening, John Tierney
10.5 TierneyLab--Stop Us Before We Shop Again, John Tierney

Suggested Resources


This book is so smart and such an illuminating look at how to do good science writing that I cannot wait to use it in the classroom. - Deborah Blum, Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism, University of Wisconsin, and co-editor of A Field Guide for Science Writers

This collection--created by one of the most thoughtful and insightful journalism academics around--reminds us of what we stand to lose if we lose track of the importance of connecting science to society. - Susanna Hornig Priest, Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Editor, Science Communication

There is only one problem with this book: You and your students might have trouble putting it down. We have needed a book like this for a long time. - Katherine Rowan, Professor of Communication, George Mason University

An invaluable primer on how to tell the most consequential stories of our times. - Ivan Amato, author of Super Vision: A New View of Nature

A practical, entertaining volume . . . - Robert Irion, Director, Science Communication Program, University of California, Santa Cruz

A book of lasting value, one that both models good science journalism and guides beginning writers along appropriate narrative paths. - Sharon Dunwoody, Evjue-Bascom Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Finally, a book that both beginning and advanced science writing students can learn from and enjoy. - Sharon M. Friedman, Professor and Director, Science and Environmental Writing Program, Lehigh University

A great overview of how to construct a clear and accurate science story, with personal insights from some of the nation’s best science writers. - Sunshine Menezes, Executive Director, Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting, University of Rhode Island

This is the book I wish I had had when I first learned how to write about science! - Earle M. Holland, Assistant Vice President for Research Communications, Ohio State University

Holly Stocking dissects how science writers provide news important to sustaining a changing earth and our place in it. - JoAnn M. Valenti, AAAS Fellow and founding member, Society of Environmental Journalists

The commentary that accompanies these selections from The New York Times points to the things that beginning science writers (maybe even ALL beginning writers, maybe even ALL writers period!) should be thinking about. - Bruce V. Lewenstein, Professor of Science Communication, Cornell University
S. Holly Stocking, Indiana University

S. Holly Stocking has taught science writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels for more than two decades. Before earning her Ph.D. in mass communication from Indiana University with an emphasis on the public communication of science, she worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and the Minneapolis Tribune, and as coordinator of science writing projects for the Boys Town Center for the Study of Youth Development. She has co-edited or co-authored three science-based books, and has been honored as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her teaching and research on the public communication of science, and for her service to the public’s understanding of science.


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