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Issues in science writing

An alternative to the content farms?

From AdAge, a glowing profile of HowStuffWorks, a site whose mission sounds a lot like the Demand Media and Associated Content operations, but with better quality. "All around us, we're seeing people trying to take short cuts to try to get there quicker and cheaper," says an officer of the site's owner, Discovery Communications, which also owns the Discovery, TLC and OWN cable channels.

What a difference a press release makes

Several blogs today are talking about a familiar subject: Science journalists who rely too much on press releases to guide their reporting. Ivan Oransky's Embargo Watch looks at a curious pair of studies two weeks apart in the same journal, one with a press release and one without. Guess which got covered? Gary Schwitzer comments further.

Want a press pass? Here's our price

Can a scientific organization demand coverage in return for admitting writers to its meetings without charge? That was the issue for a freelancer who wanted to attend the American Cetacean Society's annual meeting in Monterey, Calif. Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism Review writes this about the controversy.