1World Expert Profile: Bill Allen, Assistant Professor of Science Journalism

1World Expert Profile: Bill Allen, Assistant Professor of Science Journalism


Bill Allen is an Assistant Professor of Science Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A Chicago native, he served 25 years as a journalist, specializing in science, environment and medical reporting. He joined the MU faculty in 2004. He holds degrees in biology, English, history and journalism. He is author of “Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica,” Oxford University Press, 2001.

At MU he teaches science, environment and food-system reporting and writing as well as field reporting, investigative reporting, and environmental and agricultural history. He leads several field-reporting “immersion” courses, including a study abroad program in Costa Rica called “Covering Nature and Society in the Developing World.” He also teaches science majors about science communication and students of all kinds how to apply small drones to projects in journalism, science, business and other disciplines.

Most of Allen’s professional journalism career was at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He began his career at the City News Bureau of Chicago in 1977 and has worked at United Press International, the Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources, Argonne National Laboratory, the Louisville Courier-Journal, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also taught science writing. He has freelanced articles for Yale Environment360, the Washington Post, New Scientist, BioScience and other magazines.

Allen was a 1996-97 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a 2000 Ford Environmental Journalism Fellow in Nicaragua for the International Center for Journalists, and a 2002 Environmental Journalism Fellow at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai. Among other honors, he won the 1999 Media Spotlight Award of Amnesty International-USA and the 1998 national Engineering Journalism Award. He was a finalist for the 1998 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, given by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He has been a member of several professional journalism organizations, including the Society of Professional Journalists, Society of Environmental Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, National Association of Science Writers, and Association of Health Care Journalists.

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