On October 29 NASW members will vote on a proposed amendment to the NASW constitution that would change the qualifications for the positions of president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. A lot of discussion has been prompted by this amendment, and we'd like to give the ongoing conversation a home on the NASW web site so as many people as possible, members and non-members alike, can engage in the discussion about issues that affect our community. Read more for background and to comment.
Since its inception in 2010, more than $400,000 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, 2015.
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.
The founder of InsideClimate News, David Sassoon, discusses how non-profit journalism outlets like his are different from — and in some ways better than — legacy news media: "Nobody is in it for the money. There are no shareholders to satisfy. No media mogul can find a way to milk it dry. If a non-profit generates income, it gets plowed back into more journalism. Serving the public interest is its sole function, the practice of journalism in its noblest expression."
Denise Grady writes about the promotion of a study on advanced prostate cancer with alarming results that earned it media coverage but which were quickly challenged by the American Cancer Society for unsound statistical methods: "The frightening news appears to be a false alarm — the product of a study questioned by other researchers but promoted with an incendiary news release and initially reported by some news media with little or no analysis from outside experts."
Few features of U.S. copyright law are debated more than fair use, the principle that brief excerpts of copyrighted material can sometimes be reused without the copyright holder's permission. Paul Raeburn summarizes some of the ins and outs: "The message to journalists is: Be careful. Unless, of course, you have a team of lawyers at your back. Fortunately, there are a few useful resources online to help science writers, podcasters, and editors sort all of this out."
Siri Carpenter talks to Apoorva Mandavilli about her Atlantic story on a mathematician's recovery from brain trauma, and how her friendship with the victim's wife affected her reporting: "It was really tough to figure out how to be honest about all of the things that have happened to him — and some of the things in there are very personal, like the sexual disinhibition and the aphasia and the panic attacks he’s had. I had to struggle with how much of that to include."
The odds are pretty long that Melania Trump's speech wasn't plagiarized, Tabitha M. Powledge writes, but does the rest of the world even care about that? "The Melania/Michelle event spawned posts arguing that copying the work of others is no big deal in many countries, and sometimes even encouraged. The idea that appropriating the words and work of others is sinful is a recent and specifically American invention." Also, norovirus afflicts the RNC California delegation.
Brian Trench, an Irish "researcher, evaluator, and trainer" and president of the Network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology, sounds off on the debate over the boundaries of journalism: "Some observers and practitioners limit 'science communication' to science promotion. That also remains a part of the total mix, but only a part. It is disappointing that some of our nearest neighbours think of science communication in these restrictive ways."