Photo by Joe Working

Anne Sasso is an accomplished freelance writer, equally at home on the pages of the nation’s leading outdoor and science magazines as in the boardrooms of her corporate clients. Her work has appeared in Outside, Discover, Men’s Journal and Backpacker among others and online at and AAAS’ She now writes almost exclusively for corporate clients. Anne worked in the heli-ski industry in western Canada, did a short stint as a commercial photographer’s assistant in Singapore and scrutinized rocks as an exploration geologist (she has a Ph.D. in geology) from the Arctic to the Andes before trading in her rock hammer for a pen in 2001. In 2007, she was a fellow in the Literary Journalism program at The Banff Center in Alberta. She now lives on the western slopes of the Green Mountains in Vermont. Anne is the Business Manager for The Science Writers' Handbook.

6 responses to “Wearing Many Hats: How to preserve independence”

  1. Anne Sasso

    “Saint” Kai Kupferschmidt presents his side of things here:

  2. Bethann

    Thank you for detailing these guidelines. I am a freelance nature/science writer, editor, illustrator and photographer, and this is extremely pertinent to my work. Some of the pieces I’ve pitched to local newspapers involve researchers I’ve met through my husband’s work as a wildlife ecologist. The gray area around personal contacts, acquaintances, friends, and credibility of sources is an interesting one, for sure.

  3. Anne Sasso

    Glad to be of help, Bethann. Some of my local newspapers will add a short disclaimer in italics at the end of the article that points out any connections between the author and the sources. It never hurts to give your editor a heads-up about the connections.

    That’s enough for some SciLancers. Others have drawn their own lines and decided they will not write about sources that they learned about from spouses’ research. But it’s a very gray area, as you say.

    And one that we need to at least think about, especially if the goal is to move from local pubs, to national ones and the big glossies. The problem is that it all seems to come down to the editors’ discretion.

    On several occasions, I’ve alerted an editor at a national glossy to a potential COI: “I went to undergrad with this guy” or “I hired this guy to whatever” and I could practically see them shrug through the telephone lines. They didn’t care. But others do, even at the same publication. It can be confusing.

  4. The Helsinki debate: report #2 | Blurring Lines

    […] Sasso, the second of our speakers at the debate in Helsinki, posted some thoughts from before and after the session on The Science Writer’s Handbook […]

  5. WCSJ2013 in Helsinki, a photo-tour

    […] Wearing many hats? How to safety independence was already lonesome in good fact by Kai Kupferschmidt and Anne Sasso. […]

  6. World Conference of Science Journalists: Helsinki Recap | Erin Podolak

    […] an organization. After they each spoke their peace (and both have written great wrap-up posts here and here) everyone in the room was asked questions, what would you do type scenarios. Everyone was […]

Leave a Reply