Hundreds of science journalists and communicators from around the country will converge on the University of Colorado Boulder and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical campuses Oct. 6–10 to expand their skills, connect with colleagues, and learn about cutting-edge research at the nation’s premier science communications gathering, ScienceWriters2023.
The annual conference is organized by the council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) and The National Association of Science Writers (NASW), in coordination with a different prestigious research institution each year.
Journalists, institutional science communicators, students and others interested in a career in science writing gather for five days of panel discussions, lectures, interactive lab tours, field trips, craft and career workshops and networking receptions.
This year’s conference, co-sponsored by CU Boulder and CU Anschutz, is expected to attract more than 600 in-person attendees and as many as 500 virtual attendees.
While the conference will be headquarted at CU Boulder, attendees will have the option to spend a day at the Anschutz campus, where programming will include a workshop on reporting with electronic health records, a session on trauma and resilience among asylum seekers at the Mexico border, and other sessions curated for writers covering medicine and health.
“We look forward to meeting faculty and getting a close-up look at the extraordinary work underway at these two campuses,” said Rosalind Reid, CASW executive director.
Field trip highlights this year include:
- A visit to CU’s Mountain Research Station (9,500 feet), home of some of the longest-running and highest-elevation ecological research in the U.S.
- A hike through Boulder’s iconic Flatirons with a geologist
- A trip to the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, where scientists are developing virtual-reality tools to help firefighters navigate smoke-filled buildings
- An up-close glimpse at how Children’s Hospital Colorado is using gaming technology and service dogs to help kids cope with the medical environment
- Other tours covering wind energy, weather prediction, precision measurements, the future of aerospace and the quirky properties of quantum physics
The event serves as the annual meeting for NASW, a 2,600-plus-member organization for people who write or produce content to inform the public about science, and CASW’s New Horizons in Science program, in which top-ranked researchers report on seminal advances.
Lectures and panels this year cover everything from Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAPs) to abortion and contraception in the post-Dobbs era to the Colorado River crisis, the promise and perils of medicinal cannabis use and the health impacts of urban fires.
To shine a light on Indigenous community issues and in acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples Day on Oct. 9, SciWri23 will include an NASW plenary on science reporting on issues affecting Indigenous communities, plus an NASW workshop and documentary viewing organized in partnership with the Native American Journalists Association. CASW and NASW have also joined with the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at CU Anschutz to organize a dialogue with local Indigenous leaders on covering Native health issues.
Other onsite events will include the popular Lunch with a Scientist event, in which CU scholars share their research with small groups of science writers over lunch, and the SciWriAwards ceremony, in which the stand-out science writing of the year will be acknowledged.
Ahead of the in-person sessions, SciWri23 will open with a slate of virtual sessions beginning Tuesday, Sept. 26. These online workshops will cover topics such as artificial intelligence and journalism; popularizing mathematics; improving newsroom internships; and equity and justice best practices for editors.
Conference attendance assistance grants are available through NASW and CASW, with applications due Aug. 10. Early registration rates expire on Aug. 31, but members of AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA, NLGJA, SACNAS, SAJA, Trans Journalists Association, and SACNAS are eligible to register at the NASW member rate throughout the registration period—which concludes Sept. 26.