By Peter Griffin 31/08/2017

Update – as of June 2020 this PressPatron account is no longer active and the Fund is no longer accepting public donations. Thank you to the supporters.

Sciblogs has joined the PressPatron platform, a crowdfunding service that makes it easy for people to make one-off or monthly payments to support content they are passionate about.

We know that Sciblogs readers and those of you that comment here and in our Facebook group and on Twitter, are passionate about quality, evidence-based coverage of science-related issues. Unfortunately it is hard for mainstream media outlets to resource these types of stories, which is why we are supporting an effort to generate funding to help journalists and publishers tackle the issues that matter.

On the Sciblogs site on desktop and mobile, you will now see a red banner along the top that allows you to “become a supporter” of the recently launched Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund, which raises money to support science-related journalism projects.

The Science Journalism Fund is the brainchild of Dr Rebecca Priestley, the leader of the Science in Society programme at Victoria University and 2016 winner of the Prime Minister’s Science Communicator’s Prize.

The Fund last week announced its first round of funded projects including:

Climate change: Impacts and implications for New Zealand – funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge ($5000)
$1320 to Yvonne O’Hara to write a series of articles for the Otago Daily Times
$3680 to Eloise Gibson to write an article for Newsroom

Controversial technologies: Should we even go there? – funded by Te Pūnaha Matatini ($10,000)
$4500 to Naomi Arnold to write an article for New Zealand Geographic
$4000 to Simon Morton to support a feature on RNZ’s This Way Up
$1500 to William Ray to support a series on RNZ’s Our Changing World

Election 2017: where science and policy meet – funded by Dr Rebecca Priestley with money from the 2016 Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize
$5000 to fund a video project by Jamie Morton and Damian Christie to run in association with online features in New Zealand Herald

The projects need to be completed by December 31 and one is already running on the New Zealand Herald website – a collaboration between Herald science reporter Jamie Morton and SciFilms founder Damian Christie, which gets University of Auckland post-graduate students to run the ruler over the four main political parties’ conservation and environment policies.

The NZ Herald series comparing political parties’ conservation and environment policies

You can give as much or as little as you want to PressPatron, which only takes a 5 per cent processing fee, so most of the money actually goes into journalism projects – the Science Journalism Fund itself doesn’t use any of the money raised for administration, which is jointly handled by Dr Priestley and the Science Media Centre.

So we urge you to get behind the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund and to let us know what sort of science-related stories of importance to New Zealanders that you think really need closer scrutiny.