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NewScientist magazine are offering a science writing competition, closing September 21st, for New Zealand and Australian university students (undergraduate or postgraduate). The first three placed individuals win cash prizes of $1500, $750 and $250, respectively.*

Articles can be either,

  • a short feature report, in third person, discussing a scientific breakthrough or issue
  • an editorial piece, in first person, arguing your opinion on a current scientific issue

Full entry details are on their website. You’ll know to read the criteria closely, as all good students should… They’re asking for a high standard, as we’d like to see of science writing! Criteria include:

  • Newsworthiness: timely work that adds to or encourages debate on current issues
  • Depth and detail: of coverage of issues or discoveries, and the quality of science explanation involved
  • Scientific accuracy: work is factually correct
  • Impact: work makes a balanced and significant contribution to greater public understanding and appreciation of contemporary issues or developments in science
  • Creativity in communicating concepts and ideas: work engenders interest by using creative and clear communication
  • Appropriateness of content: material is pitched at the right level in terms of complexity and technical issues for the audience involved; and
  • Adherence to ethical standards: work adheres to the highest standard of investigative journalism – including the MEAA Code of Ethics.

Get writing! Good luck to those who submit entries.

Footnotes

* Curiously they don’t say which currency!


Other articles on Code for life:

Banished from science writing. Words, that is.

Three kinds of knowledge about science and journalism

Writing a popular science book; links and writers’ warnings

Rebecca Skloot on writing creative non-fiction

Note to science communicator: alleles, not “disease genes”