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.
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."
Two decades after agitating against conflicts of interest, the New England Journal of Medicine has now run a three-part series that seems to advocate relaxing disclosure standards, while in the rival BMJ three former NEJM editors object, Tara Haelle writes: "Why does all this matter to journalists? If NEJM does back away from their policies and other journals follow suit, it becomes more difficult for journalists to assess these commentaries and review articles."
Months before news broke of fraud in a gay-marriage study, it was a topic of conversation on PSR, an online forum for political scientists. Ben Lyons writes about one reporter who used it, and warns of potential pitfalls in doing so: "Entering a community of snarky, cloaked insiders can pose problems. Forums like these tend to build unspoken norms over time and treat interlopers harshly. Journalists seeking information may want to do a little research before diving in."