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Contributors create and collaborate on long-standing science blog

 

This artwork was originally published with a story called "Flying forest" written and illustrated by Sarah Gilman for the Last Word on Nothing blog. ©SARAH GILMAN
This artwork was originally published with a story called “Flying forest” written and illustrated by Sarah Gilman for the Last Word on Nothing blog. ©SARAH GILMAN

Blogs have a short internet life, but in the realm of science journalism, this one has defied the odds. Called The Last Word on Nothing, and founded in 2010, it focuses on the creative part of science writing. Ann Finkbeiner, one of its creators, attributes its longevity to the fact that its 15 unpaid contributors are established writers who are genuinely interested in the process of storytelling. “It’s just writers who are writing what they want to write,” she said.

Based in different parts of the United States, and as far afield as London and Mexico City, the bloggers rotate and collectively strive to provide fresh content every day. Their blog design is minimalistic. Their readership is small but steady, with 900 to 1,000 page visitors a day.

Michelle Nijhuis, a well-known environmental freelance journalist who lives in White Salmon, Washington, uses the blog as a way to venture out of traditional storytelling and test new story ideas. “It can be a laboratory for figuring out what resonates with people, what they want to know more about,” she said. Simply put, lastwordonnothing.com embodies what blogs were originally made for: It’s a sandbox, a place to experiment and to think out loud. 

Krysti Shallenberger is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism and the associate editor of Utility Dive based in Washington D.C.