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. Visit www.nasw.org/ideagrants2014 for the latest call for proposals due November 4, 2015.
More than six months after Health News Review began reviewing press releases, managing editor Kevin Lomangino writes about what it's finding and how PR people are reacting: "In several cases, public relations officials have written to us privately to say, 'But the researchers signed off on what we wrote!' To which we reply: 'That’s not good enough.' … But we’ve also had many terrific interactions with press officers who’ve been open to our constructive criticism."
Jeff Bradley was a columnist and sportswriter covering major league baseball until he was laid off almost three years ago by his newspaper. Now, he writes about his new life as, most recently, a golf course clubhouse attendant: "Lots of people had ideas. The one I hear the most is, 'Write a book.' My response to that is usually, 'I will write a book one day. Probably when I retire. But right now, I need a job.'" More from Poynter's Ed Sherman.
Ted Geltner writes about a “confused and disoriented” novelist Harry Crews, dropped into Valdez to produce his first work of journalism at the start of the 1970s oil pipeline boom: "While Crews the character plays the novice, Crews the writer expertly fills in the holes. The details paint a picture of a way of life being disrupted by outside interests. He describes the 400 miles of steel pipe waiting to be laid by the thousands of men that will be streaming into town."
Tabitha M. Powledge analyzes the analysis of terrorism, and asks whether support for Paris on social media is meaningful: "How relevant to terrorism activity is what happens openly on Twitter? What the authorities have been wringing their hands over is the amount of hidden terrorism planning and coordination taking place via encryption apps." Also, why this strange presidential campaign confounds political scientists, and uterus transplants as a route to male pregnancy.
Trudy Lieberman provides multiple examples of how the last three presidents have gradually muzzled federal health and science agencies in the interest of political messaging: "These grievances aren’t unfamiliar, of course — journalists are forever complaining about government flacks. Still, it wasn’t always this way. Reporters who have covered Washington for decades talk of a time when they could reach almost anyone at the agencies, even an agency head, by phone."
Rick Berke interviews surgeon/journalist Atul Gawande on the transformation of American health care, the New Yorker's famous fact checkers, and why writing is the hardest part of his job: "By far, the least stressful day of my week is the day I’m in the operating room. There are no phone calls, no email, you’re focused in one direction, and once you start, you have to finish. But when it comes to writing, any number of things can go wrong, and it can be neverending."
Submitted by Lynne Lamberg on Wed, 11/18/2015 - 07:53
Heather Hansen’s love of national parks started at age seven, when she was a junior ranger at Cape Cod National Seashore. To research Prophets and Moguls, Rangers and Rogues, Bison and Bears: 100 Years of the National Park Service, she drove over 20,000 miles, and she has visited 150 national parks. She spoke with park rangers, superintendents, historians, archaeologists, architects, wildlife biologists, education and interpretation experts, youth ambassadors, and others. Published in time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service’s creation, her book includes 125 images, many of them archival photos.
A Toronto advertising agency came up this clever take about working on spec but it's likely to attract knowing sighs from freelance journalists. Tim Nudd provides the context for the short video, in which "a guy approaches real men and women (not actors) in other businesses and asks them to provide him with a product or service for free, to see if he likes it before committing to more." The video was produced for an annual awards event last week but has now gone viral.
Maria Popova quotes from David Foster Wallace's correspondence on subjects ranging from the importance of dictionaries to the structure of a story and what it really means when readers describe a passage of good writing as effortless: "They’re not saying effortless in terms of it didn’t seem like the writer spent any work. It simply requires no effort to read it — the same way listening to an incredible storyteller talk out loud requires no effort to pay attention."