Fair warning: What follows is ~3000 words on what a good time it is to find science fascinating. Avoid if you’re not interested.
Given my day job teaching young writers about covering science, and given that we’re a month shy of the first day of classes for our next cohort of science-writing graduate students, I’ve been doing an informal survey of what’s out there as venues in which those folks will perform over the next few years. And, as I suggested in this post, I came away with the somewhat unexpected sense that we are living in a genuinely great age for writing and the public engagement with science.
Science writers are fond of weeping in their cups* about the dire state of the traditional science media. And they/we should. MSM science writing is often said to have peaked in the so called “golden age” of the 80s. That was when a whole new crop of science-technology-gee-whiz glossies appeared. I think I listed a fair number of the new rags last time — Time Inc.’s Discover (my first real employer), Science 8X, Penthouse publication’s Omni** (founded 1978, actually) and others I’m blanking on, joining old stalwarts enjoying new interest — Scientific American, Popular Science, Science News, and others. The end of the decade saw the birth of one of my all-time favorites, the short-lived, much missed Mondo 2000, and in the early 90s, you got Wired.