NASW Update, Feb. 24, 2006

NASW's new grievance committee, news about the internship fair and mentoring program, the NASW bookstore and web site changes, and other important notices.

Here's the latest update on NASW news and activities. To learn more, contact the people listed, or NASW Secretary Nancy Shute.


From Diane McGurgan

Last call! Dues for REGULAR (not student) memberships are due by March 20. If you do not renew/join by that time, you will not be in the roster and your membership privileges (such as your subscription to ScienceWriters, e-mail alias, member Web site password) will end.

Student memberships last for one year from the date of their inception (the date is on your student membership card); they receive separate renewal notices in the mail.

If you have already paid, thank you and please disregard this notice. If you are not sure, please check your records first. Then if necessary, contact Diane McGurgan for confirmation.


NASW Workshops/CASW New Horizons in Science Briefing: Oct. 27-31, 2006, in Baltimore, Md.

  • NASW Workshops, networking luncheons, general member meeting: Oct. 27-28, 2006
  • CASW New Horizons Briefing: Oct. 28-31, 2006
  • NASW/CASW Awards Banquet: Sunday evening, Oct. 29, 2006.


From Terry Devitt, Internship Fair Coordinator

NASW's annual Internship Fair at AAAS was a great event. A dozen recruiters eyed 35 or so bright-eyed prospective interns on Saturday afternoon. We made a few format changes this year that seemed to make it simpler for recruiters and students alike. The informal feedback has been very positive; I will follow up with a survey.

The event's huge success was due in large measure to the heavy lifting done by Jenny Cutaro and Education Committee Co-chairs John Travis and Jeff Grabmeier, all of whom gave up big chunks of time to help our student members. One exciting side note was that two of the recruiters attended the fair as students themselves last year.

Over the next month or so, I will be turning the keys over to Jenny as the new Internship Fair Coordinator. I will provide her with the data I have accumulated over the past three years and everything else necessary to make the event successful once again. I plan to be a helper next year, but Jenny will be in full control. I also thank NASW for providing financial support for Jenny, a freelancer, to be able to attend the meeting.


From Education Committee Co-chairs Jeff Grabmeier and John Travis

The NASW Mentoring program enjoyed another successful run at this year's AAAS meeting in St. Louis, Mo. Before the meeting, we matched more than 25 science-writing students with accomplished professionals who agreed to share their knowledge and expertise. On Friday, Feb. 10, the mentors and "mentees" met in the Convention Center over NASW-provided snacks, and made plans for the remainder of the meeting. We were also able to make a few "instant" matches at the meeting between students and last-minute mentor recruits. From reports we heard during the meeting, both mentors and students were very satisfied with their matches and what they were learning. And, in at least one case, a student received a writing assignment from his mentor! We hope to receive more feedback from both students and mentors to see how the program can be improved in the future. Thanks to all of the mentors for helping to make this year's program so successful.


The recently created NASW Grievance Committee has gotten off to a great start, with a one-two punch in which it got writers money that they had been owed for months.

In the first case, a writer had an assignment, confirmed by letter, to cover a meeting. But the assignment was yanked at the last minute and he lost the $1,000 a day in reporting fees that he had been promised. He at least wanted the publisher to reimburse him for the nonrefundable hotel and plane expenses, which amounted to more than $800. His request got nowhere until the Grievance Committee wrote a letter and made a phone call, and the publisher finally paid up.

In the second case, a writer who had written two short books for a book packager was paid the first $2,500 on signing his contract, but was never paid the rest of his fee, an additional $5,000, despite the fact that he delivered the manuscript last August. His calls went unanswered for months, until the Grievance Committee wrote a letter and made a phone call. He has now received $2,500 of what he was owed, and he was promised the last installment of $2,500 by the end of February. We're watching.

The committee is already working on a third case that it hopes will have another happy ending. For more information about any of these cases, or to file a grievance of your own, contact Grievance Committee chair Dan Ferber. The other two members of the committee are Ellen Ruppel Shell and Robin Marantz Henig.


From Internet Committee Co-chairs Kelli Whitlock Burton and Mariette DiChristina, and Cybrarian Russell Clemings.

The new, vastly improved NASW Web site is almost ready for an unveiling! Last summer we hired a designer to revamp the NASW Web site. During the fall, we reviewed and reworked several design options. We presented the winning look to the membership at the October meeting. Now we are in the nitty-gritty stages of reorganizing and redoing each of the many, many pages of our site. Along the way, we are reviewing every page, editing as needed, and proofreading.

The new site will be cleaner and easier to navigate. It will also have structural changes that will ease member services and be easier to update. We hope to show it to you in a few weeks! In the meantime, we have — with the helpful and thoughtful suggestions from users on talk — revised and simplified the listserv guidelines.

As part of the redesign, we are updating our list of fellowships. If you want us to list your fellowship, by Fri., March 3, please send information to Mariette DiChristina in the following format:

  • Title
  • One paragraph description
  • Contact name
  • Telephone number
  • Fax
  • Snail mail
  • E-mail contact
  • URL
  • Deadline for entry


Need another copy of NASW's new A Field Guide for Science Writers? Or maybe you would like to buy one of the many books by NASW members? Buy it on Amazon, via the NASW Web site, and the association gets a rebate. Such rebates to NASW have run as much as $400 a year. Shop here.


Robert B. Hotz, award-winning aerospace journalist, dies at 91.

Robert B. Hotz, 91, an award-winning aerospace journalist, author and arms-control expert who served on the presidential commission that investigated the space shuttle Challenger accident, passed away Thursday, February 9. He was editor and then publisher of Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine from 1955 through 1980 — when it was known as "Aviation Leak" for all the inside national security scoops he published during that Cold War era.

He is survived by his wife, Joan Willison Hotz; four sons, George, Michael, Robert Lee — a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and vice president of the National Association of Science Writers — and Harry; a sister, Peggy Diehl of Philadelphia; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Instead of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, Center for Space Education, Mail Code AMF, Kennedy Space Center FL 32899.

Feb. 24, 2006

Drexel Science and Health Communication Concentration