American Scientist’s Robert Frederick Receives Nieman Foundation Journalism Fellowship

July 22, 2020

Media Contact:
Heather Thorstensen
Manager of Communications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society or (919) 549-4691 ext. 216

Robert FrederickRESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—How do people think, understand, and form judgements about scientific evidence? What evidence do they need to trust science? Robert Frederick, the digital managing editor of Sigma Xi’s American Scientist  magazine, will investigate these questions starting in September as one of 16 journalists in the 2020–2021 class of Nieman Fellows. 

Harvard University's Nieman Foundation has educated more than 1,600 journalists from 99 countries since 1938 through its internationally recognized journalism fellowship program. In addition to taking classes during their time at Harvard, fellows participate in Nieman seminars, shop talks, workshops, master classes, and conduct research with Harvard scholars and others in the Cambridge area. Due to campus restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, Frederick will begin fall studies online. 

During his fellowship, he plans to try a new way to engage the public with science online. For American Scientist, he produces podcasts and presents the magazine’s science stories on its website. Online presentation of traditional media forms is one common variety of web projects that enrich public understanding of science. Another common variety involves citizen science projects, enlisting public participation typically by crowdsourcing data collection or analysis. For his fellowship, Frederick will be exploring a third variety, asking to what extent it’s possible to enrich public understanding of science by engaging the public in creating scientific knowledge and science journalism itself. Frederick will develop interactive web projects that both engage the public in scientific reasoning and generate data for new journalism projects.

"Robert Frederick is an esteemed science journalist with a notable career, and he has been a great asset to American Scientist and Sigma Xi,” Fenella Saunders, editor-in-chief of American Scientist, said. “We are extremely proud to have him as a central member of our staff, and we recognize that this fellowship is a very high honor that Rob shares with American Scientist  and Sigma Xi. Rob's project and fellowship represents an opportunity for us to be at the forefront of a new type of science and science journalism, in keeping with Sigma Xi’s mission.”

Follow Frederick on Twitter at @R_E_Frederick

See the full list of Nieman Fellows


More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety