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.
Sam Leith bemoans the current state of non-fiction publishing, with its fondness for sweeping "big ideas" books: "We have a flock of books arguing that the internet is either the answer to all our problems or the cause of them; we have scads of books telling us about the importance of mindfulness, or forgetfulness, or distraction, or stress." But he identifies a silver lining in "what looks like a golden age of publishing for, of all people, the university presses."
Shadi Rahimi writes that the news media and the public at large are using fewer hashtags in social media. She attributes the shift to their overuse and the ethical issues they sometimes pose: "You might have thought that by tweeting #CallMeCaitlyn last week you were guaranteed engagement. Perhaps, as the hashtag was trending up. But a quick glance at Topsy near the end of the day showed 'Caitlyn Jenner' as a keyword set on Twitter was trending higher than the hashtag."
Edward Abbey took a job at Arches National Monument in the late 1950s and a decade later produced Desert Solitaire, a meditation on the external and internal landscapes he examined that summer, Maria Popova writes: "Abbey’s writing is both a form of spiritual sustenance and a feat of conservation — for, being human and thus solipsistic, unless we appreciate the value of these experiences to our inner lives, we are rarely moved to honor their sacred value to all life."
Did last Tuesday seem like a long day? It wasn't your imagination. Tabitha M. Powledge explains why an extra second was added to that day, and others from time to time: "Leap seconds have been inserted into our timekeeping 25 times, at first nearly annually. But, also for reasons not completely understood yet, it’s happened much less frequently since 1999." Also, New York Times science writer Gina Kolata wins praise for a series on new developments in cardio medicine.
A Duke University team is spending the summer experimenting with "structured journalism," an approach that breaks down news into continuously updated data fields, Laura Hazard Owen writes. The project is led by PolitiFact founder Bill Adair, who says: “It’s hard to measure how many hours of a reporter’s time are wasted writing a paragraph about things you have written before. When we get accustomed to it, I think it will actually save reporters time and readers time.”
It seldom makes sense for a writer to form a corporation or LLC, Helen Sedwick writes. Besides the cost — in California, $800 per year — using a corporation or LCC probably doesn't provide writers much protection from liability: "A writer’s greatest legal risks are defamation, privacy, and infringement claims, all of which result from the writer’s own actions. Even if a writer had a corporation, someone would sue both the corporation and the writer for these claims."
Long an established practice in magazine publishing, fact-checking has never really taken hold in the book industry, Boris Kachka writes. Now, that may be changing, as one new Crown imprint plans to pay for fact-checking services on its books, which Kachka calls: "a pretty radical departure. Until now, authors have not just cut the check but decided whether to hire a checker, found one themselves, and directed the process. That’s probably not the most effective system."