About NeuWrite Boston

June 2014 NeuWrite Boston meeting.

NeuWrite is a collaborative workshop for writers and scientists that aims to improve the quality and accuracy of science journalism by fostering creative partnerships between journalists and academics. Our core members meet once every three weeks for three-hour sessions. The first hour is social, with dinner and drinks that encourage a salon-style exchange of ideas among our scientists and writers. Over the following two hours we conduct intensive workshops of members’ writing, discuss close reads of existing science journalism, and bring in science communicators in various media to talk about their craft.

The original NeuWrite was founded in New York City by neuroscience graduate students at Columbia University. Fantastic work has come out of their organization, both by individual members and by the group. Indeed, NeuWrite has paved the way for journalist/scientist collaborations, with Neuwrite dual-bylines appearing in publications like Science, The New York Times, and Scientific American.

NeuWrite Boston was founded by Judith Vick, a medical researcher, and Molly Birnbaum, a science writer, who were excited to tap into the intellectual resources of Boston and Cambridge and to extend NeuWrite’s focus beyond neuroscience to all scientific fields. In 2013, NeuWrite Boston was handed over to co-directors Jean Yang, a computer scientist at MIT, and Amanda Gefter, a science journalist and author, who were excited to grow the organization by engaging with the thriving communities of scientists and science journalists in Boston and Cambridge.

We hope NeuWrite will have a significant impact on the science writing community, locally and beyond, by setting a precedent for journalist/scientist collaborations. Something meaningful and new emerges when academics and writers come together: the academics become more adept at communicating difficult concepts to a lay audience, the writers gain a better understanding of how science works, and creative ideas flourish all around. At NeuWrite Boston, our scientific members are typically post-docs – young, rising stars in their academic fields at Harvard and MIT. As they work with our exceptionally talented science journalists--writers from Scientific American, New Scientist, Nova, Technology Review, Discover and others--they learn to think differently about how their work interfaces with society. In turn, our writers have the opportunity to work with bright, young scientists and find out what is happening on the front lines of science, improving the accuracy of their journalism and giving them new insights into the scientific process.