Assignment 1 — Explainer

Science Journalism

Assignment 1


Draft 1 due: Thurs. Sept. 11 in class

Draft 2 due: Tues. Sept 23 in class


Write a 250-300 piece of explanatory journalism that presents a complex topic and/or ongoing news story in an accessible manner. An explainer tackles a complicated topic or takes a basic premise behind a news story and explains it for the general public. Often this means compressing time (in an ongoing story) or simplifying arduous steps that led to an outcome. This will force you to write compactly and pay attention to every word.

Follow examples we have discussed in class or that appear on either The Economist Explains,, or one of the other examples posted on the blog.

Begin with something catchy that interests your reader, but do not use a long, feature-type lead. Explainers are short and to the point. Use active verbs.

Separate your piece into short paragraphs. One idea per paragraph.

Quote at least one person in your piece. Use proper quote format (to be covered in class.)

Do not use the first person (no I or we) or the second person (you). That leaves the third person (he, she, they, students, people etc.)

Use strong, clear language and avoid all jargon. Write like you talk. Assume your reader knows nothing about the topic.

Double-space and type your work.



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