NASW Science Writers Roundtable event series returns summer 2024 with three webinars examining the business of science journalism

This summer, the National Association of Science Writers is bringing back the Science Writers Roundtable professional events series. Launched by the NASW Board of Directors in 2023, these public talks serve as the organization’s main virtual forum dissecting and responding to forces that shape the business of science news.

For summer 2024, NASW will host three SciWriRoundtable webinars. These panel discussions will focus on the state of the journalism industry — looking at the business of journalism from worrying trends to new ownership models to staff-to-freelance transitions.

“We are excited to bring back the Science Writers Roundtable series, giving our NASW Board a forum to address emerging trends and evergreen issues in science writing,” says Cassandra Willyard, freelance science journalist and NASW Board President. “For journalists and PIOs and everyone else across our professional trades, the ongoing tumult within the journalism industry continues to create concern. We hope to gather some timely insights and helpful advice with our 2024 SciWriRoundtable webinars.”

Open and free to all interested professionals and students, each #SciWriRoundtable event will be moderated by an NASW board member in conversation among panelists with experience and expertise relevant to journalists, writers, institutional communicators, and others in the science news industry. Video recordings of each session will be made available to current NASW members.

“Our SciWriRoundtable events this summer are a great way for anyone new to NASW to participate in our community, ahead of our ScienceWriters2024 national conference later this fall,” says NASW Board Vice President Sandeep Ravindran. “No matter your role and identity within science writing, we hope to see you online for these engaging conversations.”

All events will be held at 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT, with panelist details announced ahead of each webinar.


Writer-Owned Publications
Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Event Details: https://www.nasw.org/events/nasw-science-writers-sciwriroundtable-2024-writer-owned-publications
Event Registration Link: https://sciencewriters-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/8017193514707/WN_2tejRxd7TJGt4GgVlh1UMQ

Science journalists, whether staff writers, editors, or freelancers, seem to have fewer options these days, especially after magazines like Popular Science, National Geographic, WIRED, and FiveThirtyEight had massive layoffs. But maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, with a bunch of worker-owned, often subscription-based outlets popping up, including Defector, 404 Media, The Sick Times, and Sequencer. These outlets often rely on subscriptions, grants, and other sources of funding other than different from the traditional advertising-based business models of journalism. We’ll talk to members of these groups and observers of the new media landscape, who can offer insight into them and what opportunities might come next.

Journalism in Crisis: How Did We Get Here and What Comes Next?
Thursday, July 25, 2024

Event Details: https://www.nasw.org/events/nasw-science-writers-sciwriroundtable-2024-journalism-crisis
Event Registration Link: https://sciencewriters-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/6317198578562/WN_6EqiCoZxTTqKYGyiW7fOXw

Journalism is facing a series of intersecting crises. Funding models have not kept pace with technological change, leading to large-scale layoffs and the shuttering of outlets across the country. Misinformation and disinformation are rampant. And increasingly sophisticated generative A.I. stands to exacerbate both these problems and undermine the entire enterprise. Join us for a look at how we got to this point and where we go from here.

The Business of Change: Creating a Business Guide for a Smooth Transition From Staff to Freelance
Wednesday, August 14, 2024

Event Details: https://www.nasw.org/events/nasw-science-writers-sciwriroundtable-2024-staff-to-freelance-business-change
Event Registration Link: https://sciencewriters-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/9717199568893/WN_bRXHMaeTSuOw7YoTDgfmaQ

Whether a voluntary choice or not, making the shift from a staff position to launching a freelance business is daunting for science communicators no matter their career stage. Most of us did not enter this career because we love business administration, but if done successfully and sustainably, launching a freelancing business can be incredibly rewarding and perhaps offer more career stability than a staff position; especially in recent years.

In this session our panel of diverse freelancers will work with the audience to create a comprehensive guide that addresses the logistical challenges and business-oriented tasks specifically associated with the transition to a full-time freelance career, with the goal of leaving participants with a list of action items and resources to make the transition as smooth as possible.


Find past and upcoming NASW events at www.nasw.org/events. Members can access recordings via https://www.nasw.org/events/2024-virtual-events-video-archive-member-access

The NASW Board of Directors is an all-volunteer, member-elected body charged with governing the National Association of Science Writers, Inc., a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. NASW board members are journalists, public information officers, and other media professionals whose work has appeared in major news publications and research institutions across the United States and beyond. Meet the current NASW Board members at www.nasw.org/nasw-officers-executive-board-and-key-people

Founded in 1934 with a mission to fight for the free flow of science news, NASW is an organization of ~2,400 professional journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and people who write and produce material intended to inform the public about science, health, engineering, and technology. To learn more, visit www.nasw.org and follow NASW on LinkedIn and Bluesky. And join us in celebrating #NASW90th.