The Cardamom Building

London simultaneously steeps you in cosmopolitan bustle and historical intrigue. At the end of June, I spent a week reveling in both worlds. My apartment was along Shad Thames, a street formerly host to wharf commerce, that trails southeast away from Tower Bridge along the Thames River.

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I was across the street from Butlers Wharf, an old warehouse district that housed incoming goods, notably spices, from the Thames. The wharf opened in 1872, closed in 1973, and sold for redevelopment a decade later.

I could look down from my bedroom to see tourists stop and stare at the iconic iron bridges suspended between buildings, once avenues for trade, now home to flower pots and patio chairs. The bridges that used to guide spices into London are now inspiration for passersby to wonder: who is lucky enough to live here?

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Investigative journalism attacked by Wisconsin Republicans

As a recent graduate from UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication professional master’s program, I read the following GOP addition to the Wisconsin state budget with chagrin:

Center for Investigative Journalism. Prohibit the Board of Regents from permitting the Center for Investigative Journalism to occupy any facilities owned or leased by the Board of Regents. In addition, prohibit UW employees from doing any work related to the Center for Investigative Journalism as part of their duties as a UW employee.

The relationship between the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WCIJ) and UW-Madison’s J-School is an excellent resource for students. In the very small amount of discussion by the Joint Finance Committee of this provision, there was no mention of the value of hosting the award-winning WCIJ in a place where students can learn from both experienced reporters and advanced digital journalism techniques. It appeared that Wisconsin Republicans think WCIJ is benefitting unnecessarily from free office space provided by a state institution. This overlooks the reciprocal benefit to the J-School, a benefit that, as a journalism student, I found to provide one of the best learning opportunities on campus and in Madison.

WCIJ staff guest lectured during several of my classes and shared insight into how to do rigorous, top-quality reporting. For example, they taught both one of my classes and a student publication for which I write and edit how to execute their outstanding model for fact-checking stories.

I created a storify of the action and reaction today. This one goes out to the organization that showed me how to make my first Google Fusion Tables map, the Wisconsin Center for  Investigative Journalism. For WCIJ’s reaction, go directly here. To see my storify, which includes tweets and links to local, state, and national coverage, visit http://storify.com/EmilyEggleston/wisconsin-legislature-attacks-investigative-journa#

Sinkhole coverage: a fact free-for-all?

maginfyingA Florida sinkhole that claimed a man’s life on Feb. 28  drew ubiquitous media coverage. It was a story too horrifying too pass up. The floor of a man’s home opened to swallow him whole, leaving only grief and shock behind. Everybody from The New Yorker to CNN covered it.

When so many publications, channels, and websites offer coverage of the same issue, it provides an ideal moment to compare their styles and, as I found in this case, their accuracy. For instance, how old is the victim? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question and I’m not sure many of these media outlets could either: Continue reading

#AAASmtg Day 3 & 4: it’s about the (night) sessions

Besides following the jam-packed conference itinerary, the evening activities were on my #AAAS13 radar from the beginning. That was where I got to connect with other journalists, take in the city a bit more, and just have fun.

On the evening of Day Three, science writers gathered at Fenway Park for the Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

A snow-covered Fenway

A snow-covered Fenway

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#AAASmtg Day 2: My inner agronomist + writing tips

Walking back into the Hynes Convention Center this morning, I felt prepared. I used the conference app to arrange my schedule for the day, I knew where to get free coffee, and I was wearing my most comfortable slacks. What I didn’t know was that career aspirations I had cultivated while studying agronomy at Iowa State University would come rushing back as Paul Ehrlich laid out his thoughts about the collapse our civilization. Yes, that is exactly what he did.

Thus, I spent my second day at AAAS swirling between science writers’ events and the global food security conversation at the meeting. I’ll spare you from the so-far-solutionless demise of the human race as articulated by Ehrlich and instead post a digest of advice from some of the best science journalists in the country. Below are highlights of luncheon panel discussion, including contributions by the likes of Carl Zimmer and Mariette DiChristina.

SCIENCE WRITING LUNCHEON:

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Advice from the winners: Continue reading

#AAASmtg Day 1: This thing is huge.

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View from the 3rd floor of Hynes Convention Center in Boston

This is my first time going to THE science meeting. The American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, this year in Boston. I am blogging about each day of the conference from the first timer science journalist perspective.

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Ballroom A, place of action on the first afternoon

As soon as I got off the plane, I dropped my luggage and walk over to the Hynes Convention Center. I grabbed lunch on the way and only ate half so that I could hurry up and get to….what might be the most overwhelming gathering space ever built. The vaulted ceilings. The extra wide hallways. The huge, empty exhibition halls you pass to get to the very full ballrooms.

In the ongoing  session when I showed up, New York Times’ Erik Olsen (@olsentropy)  and others were speaking about how and why to make science more visual.

All I could think about, however, was how this was soooo not ScienceOnline Continue reading

Endangered tortoises are not in the mood

The London Zoo hired French pianist Richard Clayderman to set the mood for a few endangered hard-shells. While the tortoises weren’t soothed into mating, the footage of a Jurassic-looking giant walking to Chariots of Fire may have been worth the zoo’s efforts. From ITN News: