Science Journalism Resources

Here is a reading list of print publications, videos and other resources that SoundVision Productions suggests for Science Literacy Project participants to help them prepare for the workshop. A supplemental list of resources are recommended by Science Literacy Project presenters. Please also check out our Tip Sheets also written by presenters.

(We update this page, so please come back again to see what's new.)


  1. A Field Guide for Science Writers, 2nd Edition (2005) by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson and Robin Marantz Henig for the National Association of Science Writers (NASW). This collection of essays provides one-stop-shopping for tips, strategy, sources and information. To purchase, go to the NASW bookstore.
  2. Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines (2008) by Richard A. Muller. The University of California, Berkeley, physics professor lays out the basic science that every citizen/civic leader needs to know. Muller’s Physics 10 lectures are available free on YouTube
  3. Mismeasure of Man (revised and expanded edition, 1996), by the late Stephen Jay Gould. This classic work explains how biological sciences, and especially evolutionary theories, were historically misused to justify institutional racism. In 1996 Gould revised his book in response to the 1994 bestseller The Bell Curve by Charles Murray, which argued that human intelligence is inherited and unevenly distributed amongst races. Excerpts of both books are available on More recently, scientists proved at least part of Gould's theories wrong by re-measuring skulls studied by physical anthropologist Samuel George Morton. New York Times June 13, 2011.
  4. The Music of Life: Biology Beyond the Genome by Denis Noble. This 2006 essay ponders and explains the enormous changes in our understanding of genetics. The new “systems biology” takes us far beyond the allure of genetic determinism, towards an appreciation of the complex interactions between genes and the environment, before and throughout the lifespan.
  5. Statistics for Dummies (2003) by Deborah Rumsey. An excellent desktop reference, with an incomparable “cheat sheet.”
  6. Statistics Every Writer Should Know by Robert Niles. A Web site to hold hands with. Robert Niles helps journalists through the quagmire. He covers basic statistics and the charts, equations and claims you’ll run up against in your reporting.
  7. Freely Available Science Info Resources on the Web by Barry N. Brown and Paul Piper. Searcher magazine, June 2009. Science librarian Barry N. Brown and reference librarian Paul Piper recommend science resources on the internet, many available for free.
  8. Extreme Searchers Internet Handbook (2010) by Randolph Hock. This handbook details what users must know to take full advantage of internet search tools and resources.
  9. Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe? A biblical argument for why Darwin's theory of evolution is not scientific.
  10. The Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames. This 1968 film, made by the revered team of designers, illustrates the powers of ten, from our daily view to inner biological space to the far edges of our universe.
  11. An Introduction to Nanoscience, a 2003 video narrated by Alan Alda, funded by Kavli foundation.
  12. Nanotechnology Takes Off, (2007) KQED TV, QUEST.



[Recommended by presenter Michael Starbird]

  • Freakonomics (2005) by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. A rogue economist tells us about the psychology of money and the economics behind social position.
  • SuperFreakonomics (2009) by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
  • Moneyball (2003) by Michael Lewis. The tale of the effective use of statistics in selecting winning baseball players at bargain prices.
  • How to Lie with Statistics by Darrel Huff. Originally published in 1954, it is still a delightful and accessible presentation of statistical principles and pitfalls.
  • Coincidence, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas (2005) by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird. Why regular folks could be interested in math and statistics.


[Recommended by presenter Dan Bolnick]

  • Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (2005) by Eugenie Scott. The executive director of the National Center for Science Education addresses the evolution/creationism divide.
  • The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution (2006) by Sean B. Carroll. A brilliant writer explains the physical evidence for evolution.
  • What Evolution Is (2001) by Ernst Mayr. A classic overview of evolution by a giant in the field.


  • Instant Biology: From Single Cells to Human Beings and Beyond (1996) by Boyce Rensberger. Basic biology explained by a Science Literacy Project presenter Boyce Rensberger, a prominent science journalist and educator.
  • Life Itself: Exploring the Realm of the Living Cell (1998) by Boyce Rensberger. Science journalist presents the basics of cell biology.
  • Beyond the Gene. The November 11, 2008 “Science Times” section of the New York Times focuses on epigenomics and increasingly complex discoveries in genetic sciences.


  • Natural Narratives by Michael Pollan. The author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma’” and U.C. Berkeley J-School professor shares his thoughts on science writing. Based on a talk at the 2006 Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism.
  • What ‘Narrative Journalism’ Is All About. Constance Hale, Director of the Nieman Narrative program explains the theoretical underpinnings of narrative reporting. Interviewed by Francesca Rhennon in 2008 (podcast).
  • A Senior Fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence by Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times, November 13, 2008. A cautionary tale for reporters. The lesson? Garbage in, garbage out.
  • An excellent source for learning about personal audio kits.
  • The Association of Independents in Radio AIR offers great tip sheets on basic radio skills. Getting good ambient sound, how to mic a field interview, and more.