Got Science on the Brain? Come Blog with QUEST
We're looking to include folks who are actively involved in the science, environment and nature blogging community – e.g. have a blog, guest post on others' site, and comment / participate in relevant discussions. And we're looking locally. Our blog has a strong SF Bay Area focus, though we do occasionally cover and/or perform analysis on how this stuff elsewhere that affects the Bay Area.
What we cover
QUEST’s geographic coverage is from Mendocino to Monterey and from Sacramento to Santa Clara, and generally covers 9 content areas: astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, environment, geology, health, physics and weather.
• Original posts, 3-500 words with at least 1 image. Schedule determined on availability, but weekly or bi-monthly is preferred.
• Posts should relate back to at least one of our 9 themes for the program: Astronomy, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, Weather, Geology, Biology, Environment, Health.
• Topic should be something about which you have some expertise and/or passion.
• A unique voice and ability to follow our QUEST writing guidelines (see below).
• Experience with WordPress or similar blogging platform.
• Willingness to occasionally be assigned a post topic by the editor as current events dictate.
• Respect for copyright and fair use.
Would I get paid?
Yes – we offer a small stipend on a per post basis.
Alrighty, then. How do I apply?
Email us a note and bio to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining what you'd like to write for us. Please also include some links to relevant blogs you admire, and/or participate in, and why. Send us a writing sample or two (links are fine), and we'll review it in the next couple weeks. Last day to submit is February 1st. Our hope is to bring aboard a few new bloggers by mid-February.
Some beats we're interested in
Although we want to hear from a wide range of writers, here are a few coverage areas we're keen on in particular:
• Bay ecology background and issues
• Science education
• Silicon Valley / engineering innovations
• Hacks, DIY, and hands-on science activities
• Hiking and outdoors (with a science focus)
• Food science
• Convergence of art & science
• Nature & science photography
(As laid out by our managing editor, Paul Rogers)
Why does my grandmother care? A key requirement of QUEST bloggers will be to explain scientific and environmental issues in a way that the general public can understand. Our audience is mostly made up of people who aren’t scientists or environmental activists. Posts should explain why the topics they are writing about are relevant to Bay Area residents.
Get to the point. Studies have shown that readers spend only a minute or two on most web sites before moving on. The average reader reads about 200 words a minute. Write tight, and lively. Keep it interesting and informative.
Avoid jargon. The purpose of good writing is to communicate clearly. Don’t use complex, esoteric scientific terms. Instead of saying "non-point source pollution," say "polluted runoff." Instead of "extravehicular activity," say “space walk.”
Be personal. Relate personal experiences. Speak in the first person. Tell them where you saw the blue herons or which movie best depicts what a real moon base might look like. Find your own voice and write in a compelling, approachable way.
Be passionate. Write about subjects and topics that you care about. Please don’t feel you have to stick to a script or formula. Express yourself.
Drive traffic to the blog. Place a link in your correspondence and comments to the blog. Mention it on other web forums.
Write for the bigger picture. Don’t view the blog as a place just to promote your institution or pet cause. Keep in mind your audience is made up of a wide diversity of people, with wide interests.
Speak your mind, but check your facts. Or your audience will do it for you with painful results.
Know your fellow bloggers. You'll be part of a vibrant community with fresh ideas and discussions nearly every day. Don't be afraid to comment on their posts, or link to their entries. Have fun with it! Dreary bloggers or insufferable policy wonks need not apply.