Storytelling, selling your story, and making stories better: A #DCSWA15 reading list

The DC Science Writer’s Association professional development day was this Saturday. It was an inspiring day with lots of food for thought! Storytelling was definitely a theme in several sessions, as was the notion of “selling” your story, whether it’s to an editor, to your dedicated audience or to an unknown population of readers. It also featured multiple rants against adjectives and adverbs in favor of stronger nouns and verbs, and at least two uses of the word verisimilitude.

The chance to reflect on writing, on being a journalist, on career development, on communicating science comes all to infrequently. But when it does, I’m always inspired to check out the dozens of articles, websites, apps, programs and books I hear about and figure out how I can use them to enhance what I do and how I do it.

And somehow the time to actually do that never materializes.

So, while it’s all still fresh in my mind, and while I’m casually keeping an eye on the sanctity of my NCAA bracket, I thought I’d throw together a reading list (a periodic habit …) of some of the stuff I jotted down at the meeting. And then, of course, share it on the Internet. I hope it’s useful! Feel free to shout out other resources/articles/apps/etc. you heard about.

First off, congratulations to all the DCSWA newsbrief award winners!

Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post was the first plenary speaker – so much good advice! Alas, rounding up his advice is not the point of this post. Onward to the links:

Session: Secrets from Skillful Storytellers

(two-thirds of the way through the session I managed to delete my notes on this session, so it’s a bit thin.)

Richard Panek, author of 4 Percent Universe, among other things, and contributor at Last Word on Nothing

Liz Szabo, USA Today

Christopher Joyce, NPR

Session: Animation

Lauren Wolf and Adam Dylewski of Chemical & Engineering News/American Chemical Society

Sean Kelley, now an animator for NIST

Adam Cole - producer at NPR

Examples he showed:

I’m sure there was much much more! Feel free to shout out any resources/books/links/apps/etc. that you heard about at DCSWA PDD. thanks!

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