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We've all been there: struggling to find a narrative, lede or metaphor to make a complicated science story understandable to the general public. Writers Michael D. Lemonick and Michael Shermer tried to explain their methods at a NASW 2007 Session, but in some cases left the audience wishing for more details.

At a session filled with video clips, multimedia web surfing and, yes, someone muttering at the display computer "I am a Mac person. How do you ... ," panelists at the "21st Century Science Writing: New Tools for Thinking Outside the Box" session of this year's NASW meeting talked blogs, YouTube, Facebook and online gambling. Each panelist presented a case study or two of how they use new technologies to tell stories better and faster.

Session organizer and freelancer Karyn Hede designed this session for the 2007 NASW Science in Society meeting to spotlight intersections between food, wine, and science, and to suggest new story ideas in this field. As she noted, food safety stories have important science elements. For example, the nationwide outbreak of E. Coli 0157:H7 in 2006 that was traced to California spinach raised questions about how to avoid similar contamination and how often produce should be tested.