Since its inception in 2010, more than $350,000 has been awarded by NASW's Idea Grants program for projects that benefit science writing and its practitioners. Read more to see a list of all the awardees and their exciting science writing projects. Visit www.nasw.org/ideagrants2014 for the latest call for proposals due November 4, 2014.
Welcome to the NASW Marketing and Publishing Resource. These articles aim to help NASW members take advantage of the new opportunities for marketing and publishing their articles and books, whether they self-publish or work with a commercial publisher.
The Words' Worth database is a place for NASW members to report their own experiences with freelancing clients and find valuable information from other members about what they did, what they charged, and how it went — information that can help you improve your business.
Attorney Helen Sedwick surveys the landscape of libel law in the U.S. and provides some practical advice for writers who want to avoid its hazards. For example, she discusses the line between libelous and merely false: "Portraying someone as a jerk of a boyfriend, or an insulting mother-in-law, or an obnoxious boss is not defamation. The statement must 'tend to bring the subject into public hatred, ridicule, contempt, or negatively affect its business or occupation.'"
Journalists use the word "story" for most of their articles, but Roy Peter Clark argues that many are just "reports." The difference? "A report hangs on a set of reliable questions that go back more than a century: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. A story converts these elements and sets them in motion, so that Who becomes Character, What becomes Scenic Action, Where becomes Setting, When become Chronology, Why becomes Motive, and How becomes How it happened."
Scientists tried to replicate 100 psychology studies but succeeded barely one-third of the time, Tabitha M. Powledge writes in discussing a paper published last week. What does it mean for science? "On its face the finding sounds like a disaster, not just for psychology but for the already-battered image of science and the validity of the scientific method," she says. "But so far much of the commentary on the psychology paper is determinedly looking on the bright side."
Poynter's Melody Kramer writes about some unusual uses for the computer code-sharing system GitHub: "While most people and organizations use GitHub for code, others use the platform [for] collaborative work on lists of all sorts of information, including recipes, articles to read and freely available programming books." Kramer also includes a list of tutorials and GitHub projects such as Annotator, a tool that allows anyone to add annotation to text or images.
Denise Graveline writes about some of the most common theme-related problems she sees in speakers' scripts: "Every dramatic arc relies on the high point of a crisis to put the drama in the arc of a story. But if we love crisis and failure, it's because we're hoping for redemption: what you learned, what changed, where it led you, why it's better today. I see lots of speakers aiming to emulate TED talks who do a great job on the failure, and forget the redemption."
Get out of the office and be out standing in the field, Laura Dattaro writes in her list of tips for better environmental writing: "As with all beats, reporting from the field makes for the best stories, and not only because you can describe what the elephant smelled like. It can also help provide important cultural context that can be lost amid persistent messages to save a species at any cost." Also, doing peer review in environmental writing.
Christie Aschwanden uses a clever interactive graphic to explain why so many scientific studies don't hold up under further scrutiny: "I could pontificate about all the reasons why science is arduous, but instead I’m going to let you experience one of them for yourself. Welcome to the wild world of p-hacking." Aschwanden's graphic shows how an insignificant result can be turned into a significant one by manipulating a few of the handful of variables in the analysis.