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Journalists — science writers, especially — are accustomed to reporting on innovation. Now many are living it. Today's tumult is forcing our profession to reexamine what we're really about and realizing our roles in society. Just as musicians were not about LPs or cassette tapes, we are not about printed-on-paper publications, many of which are being undermined by accelerating losses of ad and subscription revenue to often-free Internet alternatives.

Merck paid an undisclosed sum to Elsevier to produce several volumes of a publication that had the look of a peer-reviewed medical journal, but contained only reprinted or summarized articles — most of which presented favorable to Merck products — that appeared to act solely as marketing tools with no disclosure of company sponsorship.

In the very near future, many of you will either write original e-books or have one of your print books' e-rights exploited by a publisher. An e-book is an electronic version of a traditional print book that can be read by using a personal computer, an e-book reader, and, now, even an iPhone. I have mixed emotions about e-books.

The winners of the 2009 Science in Society Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Association of Science Writers, are: Alison Bass for her book Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial (Algonquin Books); Jason Felch and Maura Dolan for their Los Angeles Times series "Genes as Evidence"; Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong for their Seattle Times series "Culture of Resistance"; and Pamela Ronald for her commentary "The New Organic," which appeared on, the web site of the Boston Globe.

Should live tweeting and blogging from scientific meetings be controlled? Back in May, Daniel MacArthur — a researcher and blogger — wrote a number of on-the-spot blogs on the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Biology of Genomes meeting. By all accounts a number of people were tweeting and blogging from the meeting. But Daniel had the misfortune to come under scrutiny from Genomeweb — a web-based news service — because of his actions.