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.
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.
Slack and similar collaboration tools are growing in popularity, but journalists and their organizations should think twice about using them for sensitive work, because they're vulnerable to both hackers and litigants, Quinn Norton warns: "Don’t ever say anything on Slack you don’t want read aloud in front of a 72-year-old Alabama judge in federal court." Norton suggests some safer alternatives that use encryption or don't retain old records.
A Harvard geneticist announced that he is going to produce elephant embryos with mammoth genes, and more than 60 news stories had headlines like "Woolly mammoths to walk the Earth again." John Hawks says that more than just exaggeration was involved: "Journalists who actually dug into these numbers would have to cover this story very differently. Who would click on a story with an accurate headline? 'Forty-five mammoth genes in elephant cells, more than 4000 to go!'"
Tom McNichol interviews Ron Rosenbaum about his 1971 Esquire story on an early network of hackers who built "blue boxes" to make free phone calls: "Rosenbaum’s article is the rare magazine story that not only chronicled history, it also shaped it. A tech enthusiast named Steve Wozniak read Rosenbaum’s piece, and then showed it to his friend Steve Jobs. Before long, the two collaborated on building and selling their own blue boxes."
About those seven Earthlike planets orbiting a nearby star: They're neither nearby nor especially Earthlike, Tabitha M. Powledge writes: "Not to denigrate the scientific achievement, which is noteworthy for its novelty and sophistication … But let’s bring a little reality to the boisterous celebration attending the revelation that astronomers have discovered at least 7 'Earthlike' planets orbiting the 'nearby' star TRAPPIST-1." Also, a mini-march for science at AAAS.
If you thought Excel and similar spreadsheet managers were just tools for sorting data and doing simple arithmetic, you might learn something from this tutorial by John Wihbey and Leighton Walter Kille, who show how to get more advanced statistics like standard deviations and confidence intervals: "Quick calculations are handy, and can help you in a deadline situation, but it’s always better to really dig into the numbers, even when you have a small amount of time."
NASW's newly formed Governance Committee is looking for volunteers. The committee will work to ensure that the organization is effective, efficient, and performs to standards of due diligence. It will review the constitution and bylaws on a regular basis and recommend best practices.
Scientists and professionals at research institutions eager to inform the public about their work need to go where the readers or, increasingly, the viewers are. Instead of driving traffic to their websites, a panel of public information officers, editors, and journalists recommend creating science content specifically for use on Snapchat, Facebook Live, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media outlets.