CfP: The Art of Fact in Science and Nature Writing Session, IALJS at AEJMC 2023

Call for Panel Participants

Sessions Organized by the

International Association for Literary Journalism Studies

To Be Held at the Annual Meeting of the

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

August 7–10, 2023

Washington, D.C., USA

The Art of Fact in Science and Nature Writing

In the age of COVID-19 and climate change, science journalism has arguably never mattered more, both as public information linked to our survival and as a means of reconnecting us to our humanity. This urgent time has arguably sparked a renaissance of public service journalism and other forms of reporting on scientific findings related to health and the environment from the best minds of our generation, much of it radically transforming accepted forms of reporting and writing. From digital and biomedical technology to nature writing, such forms have significantly converged with environmental journalism, which traces back to Benjamin Franklin’s reporting on the link between toxicity in the public water supply and the spread of contagion. Today, journalists such as Ed Yong, editor of The Best American Science and Nature Writing, are at the forefront of this movement, one challenged with conveying complex information in its proper context on highly contentious issues often weaponized for partisan debate. “Of the typical journalistic beats, science is perhaps the only one that draws us out of our human trappings,” Yong observes. Not limited to one species in traditional news categories of politics, business, sports, culture, food, and travel, “science covers the other billions and the entirety of the universe besides.” The expansive nature of these subjects—matched by their impact on the sustainability of human life—demands powerful storytelling. Efforts to bend existing journalistic forms to meet the demands of changes in the scientific and natural worlds have given rise to a new wave of advances in narrative method and perspective. Has narrative journalism fulfilled its promise of delivering a deeper understanding of the pandemic, climate change, and other topics rooted in science and technology? To what extent have we entered a golden age of science and nature writing since the digital revolution spawned a now thriving generation of tech and digital culture reporting? How much complexity and accuracy is lost in reporting on science and the environment?

At AEJMC’s annual convention in Washington, D.C., IALJS will sponsor two sessions that explore the theme of “The Art of Fact in Science and Nature Writing.” Proposals are welcome on any aspect of environmental journalism, science, and nature writing in contemporary and/or historical texts, publications, and industries. Contributions from the perspective of scholarship, practice, and pedagogy are welcome. Presentations about journalism outside the U.S. are highly encouraged.

Interested participants are invited to contact the IALJS/AEJMC conference coordinator David Dowling with a title and a brief abstract (250 words) of their presentation. The deadline for abstract submissions is February 15, 2023.

Kate McQueen

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