Got science on the brain? Come blog with us.
KQED’s QUEST is looking to add new voices to this here blog, which already offers commentary from our producers, reporters, and local writers from Cal Academy, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, The Oakland Zoo, Chabot Space & Science Center, and The Tech Museum.
We’re looking to include folks who are actively involved in the science, environment and nature blogging community – e.g. having an blog, guest posting on others’ site, and commenting / participating in relevant discussions. And we’re looking locally. Our blog has a strong SF Bay Area focus, though we do occasionally cover and/or perform analysis on how this stuff elsewhere that affects the Bay Area.
What we cover
QUEST’s geographic coverage is from Mendocino to Monterey and from Sacramento to Santa Clara, and generally covers nine content areas: astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, environment, geology, health, physics and weather.
Would I get paid?
Yes – we offer a small stipend on a per post basis.
Alrighty, then. How do I apply?
1. Email us a note and bio to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining what you’d like to write for us. Please also include some links to relevant blogs you admire, and/or participate in, and why.
2. Send us a writing sample or two (links are fine), and we’ll review it in the next couple weeks.
3. Last day to submit is June 23rd. Our hope is to bring aboard a few new bloggers by July 1st.
Some beats we’re interested in
Although we want to hear from a wide range of writers, here are a few coverage areas we’re keen on in particular:
(As laid out by our managing editor, Paul Rogers)
Why does my grandmother care? A key requirement of QUEST bloggers will be to explain scientific and environmental issues in a way that the general public can understand. Our audience is mostly made up of people who aren’t scientists or environmental activists. Posts should explain why the topics they are writing about are relevant to Bay Area residents.
Get to the point. Studies have shown that readers spend only a minute or two on most web sites before moving on. The average reader reads about 200 words a minute. Write tight, and lively. Keep it interesting and informative
Avoid jargon. The purpose of good writing is to communicate clearly. Don’t use complex, esoteric scientific terms. Instead of saying “non-point source pollution,” say “polluted runoff.” Instead of “extravehicular activity,” say “space walk.”
Be personal. Relate personal experiences. Speak in the first person. Tell them where you saw the blue herons or which movie best depicts what a real moon base might look like. Find your own voice and write in a compelling, approachable way.
Be passionate. Write about subjects and topics that you care about. Please don’t feel you have to stick to a script or formula. Express yourself.
Drive traffic to the blog. Place a link in your correspondence and comments to the blog. Mention it on other web forums.
Write for the bigger picture. Don’t view the blog as a place just to promote your institution or pet cause. Keep in mind your audience is made up of a wide diversity of people, with wide interests.
Speak your mind, but check your facts – or your audience will do it for you with painful results.
Know your fellow bloggers – you’ll be part of a vibrant community with fresh ideas and discussions nearly every day. Don’t be afraid to comment on their posts, or link to their entries.
Have fun with it! Dreary bloggers or insufferable policy wonks need not apply.
OK – go.