Desk Notes Newsletter, December 15, 2021


Desk Notes
News from the National Association of Science Writers
December 15, 2021 – Vol. 3, No. 11

I'm terrible at goodbyes ...

... so there's a pang in my heart to share that this is my last month as NASW's digital and print editor.

Over the past three years, I've been fortunate to help communicate the tremendous efforts of our members as they've reported on the pandemic, and of our leaders and volunteers as they've rallied to unite the community. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for being here and making NASW the supportive, informative, and indispensable group it is. The positive interactions I've experienced through my work with NASW have been a beacon of light for me personally during this challenging time.

Look for updates on the editor role from NASW in the new year, and know that I'll be sticking around—as a member and, once I'm settled into my new position at UC Riverside, as a volunteer. Please keep in touch! I'm on Twitter @snightingale and at

Wishing you a joyful and peaceful holiday season,

Submit your best work! 

Entries for our #SciWriAwards are open. Our Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards honor high-caliber, publicly accessible science writing produced for non-media organizations. Our Science in Society Journalism Awards recognize investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on society. Submit your best work by February 1, 2022.

It's time to renew your membership for 2022. For members who are experiencing extreme financial distress, we are again offering a hardship rate of $55. If you are in need, renewing at the hardship rate is as simple as selecting the option. Thank you for your continued involvement with NASW!

Apply for an Idea Grant

The NASW Grants Committee is now accepting applications for a new round of Peggy Girshman Idea Grants. Applications are due Monday, February 21, 2022. NASW invites proposals from individuals or groups for grants of up to $15,000 to support projects and programs that will help science writers in their professional lives and/or benefit the field of science writing.


2021 Diversity Reporting Grant recipients announced

Congratulations to Sayantan Datta, Duy Linh Tu, and Andrew Meissen on being awarded NASW’s 2021 Diversity Reporting Grants. Each project will receive $1,000 to support recipients’ travel, time, and other costs as they report on how a science or health-related issue is affecting marginalized communities. 

NASW recently hosted a special #SciWriCoffee session on Book Publishing in the Pandemic. If you missed it, you can watch a recording here.

Step up as a volunteer

NASW's Awards Committee is seeking volunteers to help with organizing and running the Science in Society and Excellence in Institutional Writing awards. Our Grants Committee is seeking one new volunteer to help evaluate Idea Grant proposals.


Meet a new member

Alex Baluku, a journalist based in Western Uganda and a new addition to the NASW community, shares #WhySciWri in this short Q&A.

To write stories that resonate, reporters can spice up bland verbs, rethink repetitive nouns, transform dry descriptions, and freshen their text with wordplay. Read more about shedding sentence deadweight in this piece at The Open Notebook.
Journalists on Twitter are faced with an impossible task, a choice between building their following or avoiding harassment. More often than not, they face those risks without the support of their editors and newsrooms. Read more at Columbia Journalism Review.

WFSJ course list

The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) is creating a worldwide map of science journalism programs. They are inviting members to review, share and add additional programs.


Read Advance Copy

In The Science of Mom, Alice Callahan provides authoritative answers to common parenting questions. Read how the book came to fruition in this column by Lynne Lamberg.

When newsroom inclusion stops at hiring ‘diversely,’ reporters shoulder the burden of credibility. Read more about this problem and what newsrooms can do to better serve the marginalized communities they cover at
Since the pandemic began, almost every health reporter has experienced both the professional thrill of writing about an unfolding science story and the personal feelings of fear, anxiety and grief. Read more about managing reporter burnout at the AHCJ blog.
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Digital and Print Editor: Sarah Nightingale
Proofreader: Kelly Quigley
email:   |  online:
NASW, P.O. Box 7905, Berkeley, CA 94707 

© 2021 National Association of Science Writers Inc. All rights reserved.

December 21, 2021

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