We need your great ideas now for next year's World Conference of Science Journalists. The World Conference of Science Journalists 2017 program committee invites — and encourages — everyone interested to submit a proposal for a panel or a plenary at the WCSJ2017.
Since its inception in 2010, more than $400,000 has been awarded by NASW's Idea Grants program for projects that benefit science writing and its practitioners. Read more to see a list of all the awardees and their exciting science writing projects.
Maria Popova has quotes from Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer Egan on her fear that fame will ruin her. Getting a Pulitzer, Egan said, "is exactly the opposite of the very private pleasure of writing. And it’s dangerous. Thinking that I’ll get this kind of love again, that getting it should be my goal, would lead me to creative decisions that would undermine me and my work. I’ve never sought that approval, which is all the more reason that I don’t want to start now."
News from several fronts in the treatment of prostate cancer is summarized by Tabitha M. Powledge, including a study suggesting that more aggressive treatment isn't necessarily better: "British scientists studied more than 1,600 men for 10 years. The men had been randomized into groups that had surgery or radiation or underwent only 'active monitoring.' Most of the men survived no matter which group they belonged to." Also, evidence of prostate cancer in ancient times.
Attorney Helen Sedwick answers reader questions on some finer points of copyrights, including when to copyright your work and when to seek permission to use someone else's: "Many people make the mistake of thinking that giving credit to the original illustrator, photographer, or writer is enough to protect them from a claim of copyright infringement. It’s not. If the original image or other work is subject to copyright, then assume you need to get permission to use it."
Sometimes, Jane C. Hu writes, a story just isn't ready to be written yet, despite a lot of reporting: "It can take months for writers to gather story elements and wrangle them into a compelling narrative. On top of that, writers may hit other speed bumps, like waiting for a key research paper to be published, for a main character of a story to agree to an interview, or for a news peg to appear." Hu surveys writers for advice on how to recognize and overcome the gaps.
Rebecca Solnit takes a journey through the writer's mind, with advice such as this thought on the importance of keeping at your work even when the muse isn't anywhere in sight: "Carpenters don’t say, I’m just not feeling it today, or I don’t give a damn about this staircase and whether people fall through it; how you feel is something that you cannot take too seriously on your way to doing something, and doing something is a means of not being stuck in how you feel."
Kari Howard talks to David Wolman and Julian Smith and annotates their Epic magazine story, "The Cold War," on feuding ice cream vendors in Salem, Ore. Howard writes about how rarely longform journalism takes the kind of comic turn seen in that story: "Maybe it was so appealing because it reminded me of a favorite movie called 'Comfort and Joy,' which is like a Scottish version of this story — an offbeat comedy pitting one ice cream 'mafia' against another."
Tabitha M. Powledge reviews the reviews of Tom Wolfe's book on evolution and human language: "I don’t know what he believes about evolution, and don’t much care. His anti-evolution stance seems to me a marketing ploy, pure and simple. The New Journalists have always been skilled self-promoters, none more so than Wolfe. He has crafted a magnificent career out of being serially outrageous." Also, the EurekAlert hack and a humorous take on Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia.