Joshua Hatch, Nicholas Jackson: KSJ Science Editing Handbook

KSJ Science Editing Handbook

KSJ Science Editing Handbook

Knight Science Journalism Fellowship, MIT, Nov. 30, 2020
Joshua Hatch and Nicholas Jackson, co-editors
Download free at
ISBN 13: 9780578867496

Hatch reports:

Rare is the general interest news organization with a regular science section. Rarer still is one with dedicated science editors. Yet, much of the public gets its science news from local news outlets, according to Pew research.

That puts an ever-increasing burden on general interest editors to know DNA from RNA, Milankovitch cycles from circadian rhythms, and how to combat disinformation on everything from vaccines to genetically modified organisms.

Joshua Hatch

Joshua Hatch

For that reason, I was excited when the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT asked me, a former fellow, to work with top science journalists to assemble an online resource geared to general editors.

Nicholas Jackson

Nicholas Jackson

Nick Jackson, formerly of Pacific Standard, joined me in co-editing the KSJ Science Editing Handbook.

The handbook provides resources, tips, case studies, and background information on a wealth of topics. Apoorva Mandavilli of The New York Times explains the fundamentals of science research and funding. New York University’s Melinda Wenner Moyer writes about finding the best sources (and others to be wary of), while Elisabetta Tola of Facta delves into best practices for making sense of science stats.

The handbook includes chapters by Brooke Borel of Undark on fact checking, by Scientific American’s Jen Christiansen on graphics, and by Knowable Magazine's Katie Fleeman on the use of social media for story discovery and audience engagement.

Other authors include Erin Brodwin of STAT, whose chapter on health is timely for COVID-19 coverage; Rachel Feltman of Popular Science on editing for story; Laura Helmuth of Scientific American on covering science controversies and “controversies,” Fen Montaigne of Yale 360, who writes about covering climate change; and Tom Zeller Jr. of Undark on how to hold science accountable.

The handbook is freely available under a Creative Commons license, and made possible thanks to support from the Kavli Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. Readers are encouraged to download the book for quick reference and share it as a teaching and training guide. Work is underway to translate it into other languages. Updates will keep it current.

Contact info:

Download this book free at

NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Submit your report for Advance Copy.

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.


Review Advance Copy archives at

Thinking of writing a book? If you are a NASW member, you may access a list of more than 150 books and online resources to help you craft your book proposal, find an agent and funding sources, negotiate your contract, learn about self-publishing, publicize and market your book, and more at

Send book info and questions about book publishing to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor,

Follow @LynneLamberg on Twitter for news about science/medical books and writing.

Feb. 17, 2021

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit to submit your report.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Drexel online MS in Strategic & Digital Communication

NIH Genomics and the Media Seminar Series