Many universities have dedicated student-run science publications. Such publications are ideal places for young science writers to work with an editorial team, build up confidence and grow their portfolios. But they are also teasers of what is to come from the emerging generation of science writers.
Periodically, we’ll cover some of those student-run science publications here on The SA Incubator. Today, we look at I, Science from Imperial College London, UK. I, Science is more than a print publication—it also has a fully-fledged online component with regularly-updated blogs. Below, Douglas Heaven, Nicola Guttridge, and Peter Larkin, part of the editorial team of I, Science tell us how I, Science fits into the “culture” of Imperial College London. They also highlight some articles published in the latest issue and the website.
I, Science is the student-run science magazine of Imperial College London. Shortlisted three times for magazine of the year in the Guardian Student Media Awards and with past editors and contributors going on to work for the likes of New Scientist or the BBC, the magazine has been a successful springboard for new science writers since its launch seven years ago. A print edition comes out once a term—we've just produced Issue 20, with Issue 21 due in June—and our recently revamped website is updated by regular bloggers and feature contributors several times a week. The website also holds past issues of the magazine going back to the start. Want to see what today's professional journalists wrote when they were students? Check out our archive!
We commission the main features of each issue around a theme, but also seek pitches from any student who wants to write. The theme for the latest issue, for example, was “Man-Made”—a celebration of humanity's creative genius in the spirit of the words Feynman left on his blackboard when he died: “What I cannot create, I do not understand”—but the magazine also includes several pages of science news, reviews, and interviews. One of the highlights was an interview with Colonel David Scott, the 7th human to walk—and first to drive—on the moon.
Imperial College is an institution that specialises in science and technology, so all of our contributors have science backgrounds of one form or another, and the magazine also benefits from the input of many trainee science communicators on Imperial's MSc Science Communication and MSc Science Media Production courses. We try to take a critical approach to mainstream science coverage and encourage responsible and accurate science reporting from an expert student base. We’ve introduced a recurring feature called 'Science Behind the Headlines' that unpicks some of the news stories leading up to each edition of the magazine.
But in magazine production writing is just the start—we have a team that helps with essential tasks such as picture editing, proof reading, layout and, of course, tweeting. We've also enjoyed supporting student photography and art projects, and many of the team were involved with the recent student-organised TEDxImperialCollege event that married cutting-edge science with art and design.
We aim for a dynamic integration of website and print, with website picks showcased in the magazine and magazine features migrated online. Our regular bloggers cover everything from the latest on epigenetics and epidemiology (Curious & Curiouser) to the delicate partnership between science and business (Science Means Business), taking in the highlights of the London exhibition scene on the way (5pm Girl). By promoting our content through Twitter, our bloggers have won enthusiastic retweets from high-profile followers. The website also features a growing number of podcasts and videos, and this year we've acquired a taste for stop-motion animation. Last December we celebrated the build-up to the non-announcement of the Higgs with Edible Cern, which explained the basics of the Large Hadron Collider using sweets!
Douglas Heaven, Nicola Guttridge, and Peter Larkin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Editorial team of I, Science