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.
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.
Beth Macy reviews the process of writing her just-released book, Factory Man, including the two weeks she she spent in the "corn crib:" "My goal had been to write a business book that did not read like a business book — something that my octogenarian mom could read in order to finally understand why so many of the once-thriving factory towns she grew up in, and near, now look like ghost towns, with soaring rates of disability, food insecurity and underemployment."
Tabitha M. Powledge writes about CRISPR, a new "natural" genetic engineering method that is touted as being more acceptable to anti-GMO activists. Powledge has her doubts: "It’s hard to imagine they will be converted to the cause of genetic modification because the methodology is based loosely on a technique bacteria evolved billions of years ago." Also, did a leading anti-GMO activist really publish a hit list of prominent science writers?
It's no secret that full-time writing jobs are increasingly scarce, and that per-word pay for freelance work has stagnated even as stories have grown shorter. Now, on the Last Word on Nothing blog, several writers sound off on what this means for journalism: "If you want lots of good stories, you need to give someone time, and when you’re freelancing, all the incentives are pushing you to spend as little time as possible on each thing and move on to the next thing."
Phil Davis recaps a speech by Science magazine's John Bohannon at an academic publishers' conference and weighs whether the presence of cameras impedes the open exchange of ideas. In his case, he says the answer is yes: "I’m prone to veering off-topic and making snide remarks. On occasion, I can be downright offensive. So, when I see that camera pointed at me, my head goes down and I start reading, which is my defensive posture – a safe mode designed to minimize risks."
Remember how William Randolph Hearst started a war with one terse telegram? Or how Edward R. Murrow ended McCarthyism with one broadcast? Both of those famous stories and others are myths, Mike Feinsilber writes in a post about American University journalism professor and myth-debunker W. Joseph Campbell, who Feinsilber says has "carved out a niche as the guy who tracks down things everyone knows to be true and proves that everyone’s wrong. He is a dedicated debunker."
For a long time, Sarah Callender was a skeptic on the subject of writer's block: "Meryl Streep doesn't suddenly find herself unable to act. Barbara Walters doesn't suddenly find herself unable to ask nosy, semi-inappropriate questions." But over time, Callender writes, she came to believe that writer's block is real: "How do I know? Because Writer's Block is almost always the result of doubt, and doubt loiters and lollygags in the heart and head of every serious writer."
Justin Ellis at the Nieman Journalism Lab reports on a change in the tax-exemption process that should make it easier for nonprofit news sites to pass muster with the Internal Revenue Service: "This month, the IRS introduced a new application that makes getting tax-exempt status not much more complicated than ordering a pizza online. What was once a 26-page form has been cut down to three, and groups will now only have to pay a $400 fee rather than $850 to apply."