Event Details

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Opportunities for Archaeologists in Public Writing and Communication [Foundational Skills]

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Opportunities for Archaeologists in Public Writing and Communication [Foundational Skills]

When: March 27, 2024 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Duration: 1 hour

Certification: None


Individual Registration: Free to SAA members; $69 for non-members

Group Registration: Free to SAA members; $89 for non-members

Bridget A. Alex, Ph.D., SAPIENS Magazine

Dr. Bridget Alex is the archaeology and biological anthropology editor for SAPIENS, a digital magazine produced by anthropologists for the public. As a freelance writer, she has published more than 140 popular science stories for outlets including Discover, Science, Archaeology, Atlas Obscura, and Smithsonian. Bridget has taught anthropology and science communication at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena City College, and Harvard University.

Dr. Alex earned her Ph.D. in archaeology and human evolutionary biology from Harvard. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and other awards, her research focused on the spread of Homo sapiens and extinction of other humans, such as Neanderthals, over the past 200,000 years. More broadly, she used biogeochemical methods like radiocarbon dating to reconstruct the chronology and biogeography of past human groups. This methodological expertise allowed her to work and publish on diverse archaeological contexts including Paleolithic Eurasia, Stone Age Africa, Iron Age Near East, Moche South America, and Teotihuacan-era Mesoamerica.

The public loves learning about archaeology through news stories, magazines, podcasts, and other mass media outlets. Many archaeologists are well positioned and motivated to create this content, but few know how to enter the mass media industry. This session will provide guidance for anyone interested in pop-science press—from those seeking to dip their toes to individuals who want to pivot careers to science journalism. Rolling back the curtain around pop-science media, we’ll discuss behind-the-scenes processes that transform stories from an author’s initial inklings to professional publications. These include how to “pitch” a story to popular outlets such as Discover or The New York Times and how to work with journalist editors. The seminar will also review different story types (such as op-eds, news, features), media (written, audio, visual, photo), and entryways including occasional contributions, internships, freelance work, and career paths.

  1. Survey story types and media
  2. Outline the development of a story from pitch to publication
  3. Discuss opportunities and career paths in archaeology public communication