Dan teaches a science-writing class occasionally through Freelance Success, an online community of professional freelance writers.
Note: This class is not currently being taught.
Science writing: How to strengthen your writing with science.
Fascinated by science, but confused by the sea of scientific studies? Want to use science to add punch to your pieces? Want to know how to figure out if a study is worth covering, or how to make sense of it quickly? You don't need a Ph.D. to write well about science. By learning some basics about how science works in the real world and what makes scientific information newsworthy, you can add substance and credibility to your work.
This online class covers:
- the best places to find science news
- how to find the right expert, not just the nearest expert
- how to quickly vet a study
- the art of explaining science
- narrative science writing
- pitching science stories
The class will feature readings, lessons and assignments, which will be posted and discussed in a password-protected forum. Several readings will be drawn from A Field Guide for Science Writers, a how-to book from the National Association of Science Writers that costs about $20.
Dan Ferber is an award-winning journalist whose writing on science, technology, health and sustainability has appeared in Reader's Digest, Popular Science, Wired, Scientific American, Audubon, Nature Conservancy, Women's Health and many other publications. He was a long-time correspondent for Science magazine, an adjunct instructor of journalism at Indiana University, and he's the coauthor of the award-winning book, Changing Planet, Changing Health.
$249 for Freelance Success members, $299 for nonmembers. Registration is limited to 20 students. To register, email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Testimonials from previous students:
“Dan Ferber’s science writing class gave me the boost I needed to take my writing where I wanted it to go. Ferber challenges each writer to analyze scientific studies, hone interview techniques and find appropriate sources. His suggestions on building narratives put into practice what makes a good science story. He is a generous teacher giving support and sharing insights. What a pleasure it is to learn from this experienced professional.“ — Mary Klest
"Dan Ferber teaches a focused, upbeat and highly informative course on science writing. The course is equally beneficial to experienced science writers as well as those just entering the field."— Bill Clapper
"Incredibly helpful. Well written and thorough course materials and an insightful look at the narrative aspect of science writing. The course definitely took my casting for ideas and the actual writing of science stories to the next level. Dan, thank you again. I really loved the class and the effort you put into it." — Jean Thilmany
"I have been writing about health and medicine for consumer publications for many years and took Dan Ferber's science writing course to get a clearer understanding of how to interpret study data and statistics and to learn other approaches to science writing. The course was clear, well organized and very productive. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in science writing." — Peggy Noonan
"This was the best writing class ever and Dan is an exceptional teacher. I evolved into a science writer without having those first important journalism courses, which left me without an understanding of some fundamental things science writers must know. Because of my lack of understanding, I have been functioning under a low ceiling of opportunity. Dan patiently answered my countless questions, lifting that ceiling and opening a door that had been closed to me before. Further, he helped me to understand that learning to write really is a process and doesn’t happen overnight. While indeed there are born storytellers among us, even those of us who struggle telling stories can move somewhat along that continuum, perhaps, because of the road plan he so kindly provided. This class was exceptional in so many ways. I think Dan should consider being a writing coach, in addition to a freelance writer! — Pat McAdams
"My only disappointment about Dan's class was that it came to an end. If he offered a follow-up class, I'd sign up immediately. I'm new to science writing, and can't imagine getting a better introduction to this area; Dan is a wise, generous guide. The class title doesn't quite do it justice, however. You may think, 'Oh, this class won't do me any good, because I'm never going to write about science stuff.' And that's too bad -- because Dan's course content delivers so much more than 'science stuff.' For example, the class addresses approaches to research, reporting and narrative writing that I'll apply to an array of topics. That said, his class definitely piqued my enthusiasm for pursuing science stories." — Sandra Swanson
"Dan is extremely knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts of science writing, and has a great deal of enthusiasm for it. He is generous with his time, guiding students through core concepts patiently and giving thoughtful, valuable feedback to their questions." — Wendy Lyons Sunshine
"The Science Writing Course was a great investment. Dan's a first-class instructor with a knack for making complicated material easy to understand. The readings, homework assignments and discussions helped stretch my thinking in new ways. I'm looking forward to putting all I've learned into practice." — Jodi Torpey
"Dan is so knowledgeable about science writing and teaches the information with such ease. I am leaving the class knowing that I can add this to my writer's tool box and reap the benefits." —Andrea King Collier
"Great course by a well informed instructor who is very forgiving of those of us who don't know as much." —Dorothy Pederson