Sarah McQuate

Public information officer, University of Washington News

Sarah E. McQuate is a research scientist turned science writer. She works as a public information officer at the University of Washington where she covers the UW's College of Engineering and Information School. Sarah writes news stories about recent research, helps journalists find UW experts and teaches researchers how to talk and write about their science so that the general public can understand what they do and why it's important. Sarah has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and a science communication certificate from UC Santa Cruz. For her doctoral degree, Sarah studied a bacterium, Salmonella, and how it tricks our cells into doing its bidding. More specifically, she used fancy microscopes to take videos of Salmonella infections taking place in single cells.

Sarah is speaking at

#SciWriCraft Session Platform: Zoom webinar
October 20, 2020
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm



Authors: Christie Wilcox

Great interviews can bring stories to life, which is why the ability to conduct good interviews is essential for all kinds of science writers, whether they do hard-hitting investigative journalism or PR. Unfortunately, interviewing skills are rarely taught in journalism programs (and they're even more rarely taught outside of them).

How do you get people not accustomed to media attention to open up? How do you get experts to drop the jargon and give useful quotes? How do you ethically approach vulnerable sources? Or manage especially combative interviewees? This session will answer these questions and more by having a panel of seasoned experts provide their hardest-learned lessons from years of conducting interviews.

For roughly half of the session, attendees will hear directly from three veterans: ProPublica's Adriana Gallardo, Buzzfeed's Stephanie Lee, and the University of Washington's Sarah McQuate. In a prerecorded video, they'll share some of their best tips on preparing for interviews, conducting them well, and handling the toughest situations that can come up. After that, the three will engage in a live Q&A period to answer audience questions, allowing attendees to drill deeper into the aspects of interviewing they're most interested in.

Whether you're brand new to journalism and #scicomm or a veteran PIO, if you're looking for tried-and-true tactics to improve the quality of your interviews, this session is for you!

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