Science Writers in New York

Science Writers in New York (SWINY)

Group Details

Mission Statement: SWINY is composed of editors and writers in the New York City metro area who cover science and medicine in the print and electronic news media as well as public relations professionals who promote science. Anyone with an interest in science communication is welcome to become a dues paying member, and non-members are encouraged to attend our events.

Vision Statement: To take advantage of the New York City metro areas concentration of media and science talent in fostering a community of science communicators.

Operations: SWINY is led by a volunteer board (two co-chairs, a secretary and a treasurer).

Funding: Membership dues ($30/year).

Membership: Predominantly freelance writers, as well as institutional communicators and staff journalists. Among the benefits of membership are reduced admission to ticketed events, early notification of access to Elsevier's ScienceDirect, and more

Programming: Organized by board members. Core activities include networking socials, science tours (behind-the-scenes hikes of Central Park and local science-based sites), talks with book authors, occasional workshops, and special events.

Successes and Challenges

Three Successes:

  1. SWINY responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by pivoting our occasional in-person talk with book authors (Katherine Eban, Carl Zimmer, Dr. Helen Fisher, Dr. Robert Klitzman, Gretchen Rubin, Randi Hutter Epstein, Sherry Turkle) into a regular series of Zoom talks with authors, as well as conversations about COVID-19 with journalists and scientists (Carl Zimmer, Ivan Oransky, Malin Attefall, Maria Konnikova, Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo). Zoom talks are archived on SWINY's YouTube channel.

  2. On September 6, 2017, SWINY, the National Association of Science Writers, and Rockefeller University presented a one-day conference, Science, Journalism, and Democracy: Grappling with a New Reality.

  3. On March 30, 2012, SWINY, The Hastings Center, and the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism presented Bioethics Bootcamp: Finding the Must-Read Angle for Science and Medical Stories, funded by a National Association of Science Writers Idea Grant.

Three Challenges:

  1. Growing membership

  2. Keeping the board engaged and fighting burnout

  3. Attracting more diverse membership

About the Region

Geographic Setting: SWINY attracts members from the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Westchester County, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Media Community: Often called the media capital of the world, New York City is the home of several newspapers and magazines that report consistently on science (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Yorker), as well as the headquarters of such science-centric magazines as Scientific American, Popular Science, and Discover.

Science Community: New York City is the home of several world-class research hospitals and biomedical research institutes, as well as a growing number of biotech incubators.