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Whose Truth? Tools for Smart Science Journalism in the Digital Age

About This Course

As journalists, we ignore science not only at our own peril, but at the peril of our readers, viewers and listeners.

In this course, you'll learn how to make sense of scientific data and tell stories in ways that connect with your audience. You'll get techniques and tips to improve your interviewing and reporting skills. You'll also learn how to lift the veil from front groups to launch investigations based on informed fact-gathering.

When you're done, you'll have a toolkit of ways to identify and overcome the barriers journalists face when reporting on science-related topics.

What I Will Learn?

  • Identify the jargon and language barriers that potentially exist between your expert sources and your audience
  • Add clarity and context to a scientific story
  • Cultivate relationships with scientists and other experts
  • Identify front groups and others with anti-science agendas
  • Ask questions to get to deeper stories
  • Communicate numbers in an understandable way to your audience

Who Should Take This Course?

  • Journalists who want to better understand how to cover complicated scientific subjects
  • Instructors and students of journalism and related fields who want to improve their reporting skills

Course Instructor

Elissa L. Yancey, MSEd

Elissa L. Yancey, MSEd

Elissa Yancey, MSEd, is the director of special projects at the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the Unviersity of Cincinnati. An alumna of Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy, she has more than 20 years of teaching and reporting experience, includinga stint as an environmental editor at, the Scripps affiliate in Cincinnati.


Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm. We create opportunity for people to improve their lives by investing in market-based efforts that catalyze economic and social change.

Training Partner

Participant Media

Participant Media

Participant Media is a leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for viewers to get involved. Participant's more than 65 films include Lincoln, Contagion, The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Food, Inc., Waiting For "Superman," CITIZENFOUR and An Inconvenient Truth.

This $30 course is available for free thanks to our generous partners at Participant Media.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.