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As the crowd was settling in to the "PIO Basics" session of the 2006 NASW meeting, a man in the row behind me leaned forward and whispered to the woman next to me, "I know nothing about being a PIO." "Neither do I," she whispered back.

The How to Cover a Scientific Meeting session drew a standing-room only crowd, with participants lining the walls and sitting on the floors as four consummate professionals held forth on everything from the imminently practical ("Read the program" and "Eat breakfast") to pointers on schmoozing researchers to slick tips on how to capture elusive details to entice picky editors.