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.
How fast can you compose a blog post? Denise Graveline writes that the secret to speedy blogging is to write only when you're ready: "I work with many clients who spend all their time on the writing, whether that's thinking about the post, staring at the blog interface, or rewriting again and again. You might be sitting down 'to write,' but quickly get distracted by the need to find photos, copyright info, a link you remember but can't find right away."
Poynter's Roy Peter Clark is a strong advocate of keeping things short, but in this post he writes that it's all right to break that rule on occasion and take the reader on a short journey of discovery: "Care must be taken with the long sentence of course, the care of craft, because mastery of the long sentence is an arrow in the quiver of almost every writer I admire. As always, the exercise of craft begins not with technique but a sense of mission and purpose."
The winners of travel fellowships to ScienceWriters2014 were asked to file reports on many of the conference sessions, and we've begun posting them on our conference reports page. More reports will be posted as they become available, so keep returning to that page over the next few days. And don't forget to mark your calendars now for ScienceWriters2015, October 9-13 in Cambridge, Mass.
James Baldwin on his relationship with his father. Joan Didion on California in the 1960s. John McPhee on Atlantic City — on the Monopoly board and in real life. Those essays and seven others made Robert Atwan's list of the 10 best postwar essays: "The best essays are deeply personal … and deeply engaged with issues and ideas. And the best essays show that the name of the genre is also a verb, so they demonstrate a mind in process — reflecting, trying-out, essaying."
Notwithstanding the "yuck factor," fecal transplants are winning favor as a treatment for an especially nasty intestinal infection, and now Tabitha M. Powledge writes about a way to get that treatment in pill form: "Regulatory agencies will doubtless have something to say about that. But they’re going to have to move fast." Meanwhile, Apple and Facebook offers women up to $20,000 to postpone reproduction by freezing their eggs, and the reception they get is not good.
Your middle-school teacher lied to you. All those grammar rules that were drummed into your brain when you were an impressionable teen? A lot of them don't hold water, Lauren Davis writes: "Some things that people have been taught are rules of English grammar are really not rules at all — and some of them are flat-out wrong. There's actually a word for this phenomenon: hypercorrection. It's what happens when people learn that something that isn't a rule is a rule."
The journalism professor and NASW member discusses his reporting and writing for the Pulitzer-winning nonfiction book and shares his thoughts on how he was able to meld historical research with present-day narrative: "Finding connections is what good nonfiction storytelling is all about. I kept seeing connections between Basel (Switzerland) and Toms River. Or between molecular epidemiology and classical epidemiology."