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After working as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow for ABC News, Monya fled broadcast journalism for a high school classroom, where she taught biology, chemistry and math before venturing into print journalism at the Acumen Journal of Life Sciences. As synopses editor at MIT's Technology Review, Monya solicited input from scientists and venture capitalists to select the most promising emerging research. She has written for The Economist, New Scientist, The Scientist, Wired and other publications. Monya has a BA in biology from Carleton College and an EdM from Harvard University. Based in San Francisco, she works as a writer and editor for Nature Publishing Group.

8 responses to “Asking for interviews – and getting them”

  1. Mademoiselle

    Great article!

  2. Anne Sasso

    Excellent road map, Monya. Thanks!

  3. Vijay Shankar

    Hello Monya,

    Thanks for the nice post. It’s really educating.
    I usually interview people over email, if you can call it an interview, still.

    Generally, I’m a talkative/interrogative, if there is something that to do with science. However, when I think of a telephone interview, my stomach churns a bit. I don’t know why! For my first interview, I spoke with the source I know for a few years during my research, via Skype. Even then I was a bit nervous – something like, am I doing it right? Do you have any tips to get over this discomfort? And, is it good to carry on with email interviews? If so, could you please also write a similar post for email interviews?

    Thanks in advance. SciLancers rock – be it in the book or in the site!

    1. Monya Baker

      Hi Vijay,
      Thanks for reading. I prefer phone interviews to email interviews – you get better quotes and one question can lead to another. I use email for fact-checking or if I”m really in a pinch.
      And discomfort makes it more likely you’ll prepare -so it’s okay to feel it, so long as it doesn’t stop you!

      1. Vijay Shankar

        Hi Monya,
        Thanks a lot for your kind response on my query. Your response is really thought-provoking and encouraging.

    2. Jason D.


      I wish I could say I have no idea about feeling anxious making phone calls but I know the feeling all too well. I think my fear is that I will sound ignorant or simplistic, I’ll forget to ask something important, and a bunch of other negative stuff. I’ve been reminding myself that people are excited to speak to me (as an writer). If anything, I’m doing them a favor and it will be an opportunity to learn something new. I’ve found this change of attitude helpful and I find myself feeling more confident.


      1. Vijay Shankar

        Hi Jason,

        So, it seems, many share my “gut feelings” about phone interviews. I have some of the fears you had. Yes, one of my latest interviewee chose phone to email to answer me. At first I had a bad feeling. But on phone, he eased me by asking about my writing career, the outlet I write; and all got well afterwards. I think your point is equally valid. Thanks a lot for your input.


  4. morganism

    Just excellent and very concise.

    Will pass this on to my daughter, to help for her science writing and blogging for school.

    Concrete solutions for a regularly asked question.

    Thanks again !

    PS found you from a plos link.

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