ScienceWriters2021: A brief update and how to get involved

Dear Members,

We hope you are safe and well in these difficult and uncertain times.


We are all yearning for the day when we can meet once again in person — safely. To that end, we are currently working with our partners at the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) and the University of Colorado to figure out a safe, creative, and awesome way forward together. Among the deliberations are whether ScienceWriters2021 will be in person, virtual, or a hybrid gathering— and when the event ought to take place.

We will have an update on our #SciWri21 plans in early April — but you can start getting involved in the meantime. Your ideas are what make our annual ScienceWriters conferences so spectacular. So, here are three ways you can get a head start and get involved, as we navigate the road ahead:

1. Volunteer for the NASW Programs Committee

2. Submit an NASW session proposal

3. Submit a Science + Science Writing session proposal to CASW

Join the Programs Committee

Each year, the NASW Programs Committee works hard to develop a slate of professional development sessions for our annual ScienceWriters conference that reflects the broad and varied interests of our membership. The committee is currently seeking nine new volunteers to join six returning members as it begins preparing for our annual meeting. Whatever the shape or form ScienceWriters2021 ends up taking, we will need your help to curate fabulous professional development content for our colleagues and students.

To be considered, please send a brief statement (no more than 200 words) about why you’d like to join the committee to Cassandra Willyard, committee chair, at by March 19. Volunteers should expect to work hard between April and June. We'll read the proposals, rank them, and meet virtually a few times to discuss. Then, after the program is set, each member will serve as a mentor to one of the session organizers.

Submit an NASW professional development session proposal for ScienceWriters2021

The NASW Programs Committee works hard to develop a slate of professional development sessions that reflects the broad and varied interests of our membership — including journalists and PIO’s, staff and freelancers, media students and instructors, writers and editors, broadcasters and podcasters, and new members and veterans across all career levels.

As in 2020, we will strive to uphold this standard of relevance and quality for ScienceWriters2021 — while adapting to the emerging and ongoing needs of our professional community.

The SciWri21 proposal submissions portal is now open. Please open the submissions page for our complete instructions, recommendations, and speaker accommodation details. We invite you to begin submitting great session ideas that are flexible to whatever in-person or remote format our conference ultimately takes.

Please read our instructions for complete details. Above all, know that the Programs Committee values a diversity of topics and a diversity of voices for our conference program. Proposals should demonstrate that thought has been given toward identifying potential speakers and perspectives that support a diverse and inclusive conference. Any proposed panels should include speakers from underrepresented groups and showcase diversity in job roles (both within and outside the field of science writing) and geographic location.

Read more and submit your NASW session proposal online by April 16. Curious about what makes a great proposal? Check out this resource from the Programs Committee. And remember, you don’t have to go about it alone: gather a team or ask for introductions, and work together for a great conference pitch!

Submit a proposal for a "Science + Science Writing" session to CASW

Science writers are also invited to propose special sessions to discuss challenges or issues in covering science. Drawing on current topics in the news, "S+SW" sessions are intended as case studies of issues at the intersection of science, science communication, and journalism. They also are intended to provide opportunities for open conversation between scientists and writers on topics that are controversial, ethically fraught, or otherwise difficult. Up to three selected sessions will be interwoven with CASW’s New Horizons in Science presentations.

Read more details and submit your S+SW proposal online here by April 16. Proposals that focus on hot topics in science, include diverse (even opposed) perspectives, voices, and identities, and allow ample time for audience engagement are encouraged. You are welcome to submit multiple proposals, but please note that you should not submit the same proposal as both an NASW session and a CASW S+SW session.

Thank you all again for your attention and understanding. We look forward to bringing you more news on our annual hallmark event. Stay safe — and stay tuned!

Hero image by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash



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