From the American Copy Editors Society annual meeting, Katie Antonsson covers a session led by copy editor Bill Walsh of the Washington Post,who discusses twenty "rookie mistakes that even veterans make" in their copy. An example: "'Hyphens are a contentious subject,' Walsh said, 'and I am more likely to use them than most people, but it’s perfectly reasonable to omit a hyphen.' A town hall meeting, a high school friend are perfectly sufficient without a hyphen."
Join the New England Science Writers at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA the weekend of April 18, 2015 for "Telling Science Stories with Code and Data." Funded by an NASW Idea Grant, this hands-on workshop will cover both how to acquire, analyze and interpret data and how to visualize and present scientific information in interactive, reader-friendly ways for storytelling. Learn more and register by April 10 at neswonline.com.
As a new presidential campaign begins, Jay Rosen writes about the hard choices facing reporters who cover the candidates' views on climate change: "As more and more journalists come to the conclusion that they should no longer take seriously the arguments of 'someone who believes the entire field of study is built on a pillar of sand,' the Republican presidential field has more and more of these someones, and candidates who often flirt with that position. What to do?"
Tim Adams writes about an upcoming book by photojournalist Will Steacy, who documented the Philadelphia Inquirer's slide from a staff of about 700 to the current 210: "[There] are small gestures of defiance, the pinned up cuttings and cartoons that reflect on the consequences of a revolution of 'news' to 'content;' there are poignant observations of defeat, note-strewn reporters’ desks quietly become sanitised and paper-free in his pictures and then disappear entirely."
Before he became the celebrated author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez aspired to be a musician, and when his exasperated mother suggested writing become his vocation, he put up a fight, Maria Popova writes, quoting from his memoir: "'If you’re going to be a writer you have to be one of the great ones, and they don’t make them anymore,' I told my mother. 'After all, there are better ways to starve to death.'"
A new Atlantic article argues that the 12-step addiction treatment programs popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous are not based on science, but Tabitha M. Powledge suggests that there's more to the story, and that solid evidence is lacking in any case: "We are, we are being told, entering the age of Personalized Medicine. Surely time to lay out the smorgasbord of addiction therapies with attached price tags and data on what works." Also, does breastfeeding raise IQs?
How often does a new medical treatment actually make it to clinical use? Almost never, Julia Belluz writes in an indictment of "breakthrough" journalism: "We don't wait for scientific consensus; we report a little too early, and we lead patients and policymakers down wasteful, harmful, or redundant paths that end in dashed hope and failed medicine. This tendency could be minimized if we could only remember that the overwhelming majority of studies in medicine fail."