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.
Alex Belth interviews Gay Talese about his 1964 Esquire profile of boxer Floyd Patterson, including how the writer worked with the fighter to make his quotes perfect: "I said, 'Floyd, what’s it like being knocked out?' Then he started talking and I said, 'Wait a minute, you can do better than this. Tell me again.' And we’d go deeper, deeper, deeper. The quotations that [are in the story] are not what I first got — they are what I got after I badgered the guy."
There's plenty of blame to spread around after this week's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report warning about the dangers of alcohol to a developing fetus, Tabitha M. Powledge writes: "The media and commentators are guilty of careless reading. But the CDC is guilty of careless writing too. The agency must know that the topic of women and alcohol and pregnancy or intended pregnancy has long been a hot-button issue." Also, new data deflates a popular belief.
Wall Street is punishing its stock and its management has become a revolving door, but Walt Mossberg writes that Twitter's single biggest problem is that it's just too hard to use: "Try to explain to a mainstream consumer, even someone who's decent at using an iPhone or Facebook, what counts in the famed 140-character limit in a tweet, or the difference between 'blocking' or 'muting' an unwanted follower, or whether 'liking' a tweet means you agree with it or not."
Publishing attorney and author Susan Spann discusses how to make sure you recover your rights to your book if, for example, its sales have dropped to a low level or your publisher takes it out of print altogether: "If the contract doesn’t grant you termination rights, and publisher isn’t in breach, your options may well boil down to persuading the publisher to agree to termination — or waiting until the contract allows you to terminate without the publisher’s consent."
Submitted by Lynne Lamberg on Wed, 02/03/2016 - 07:34
In the Cancer Survival Guide, Charlotte Libov provides information on treatment and life after treatment for the thirteen most common cancers, including those of the lung, breast, prostate, and colon. She offers tips to help patients and families find clinical trials, cost-effective therapies, and free resources, and make sound decisions from the outset. She also includes information on prevention and early detection, including genetic tests that may enable family members to assess their risks.
As media outlets assert control over their employees' online activities, Denise-Marie Ordway writes about an academic report on journalists who struggle to control their personal brands while cashing a paycheck: "Often, reporters, editors and columnists maintain two or more accounts on each social media platform in an effort to keep their professional lives separate from their personal ones … Journalists face choosing between their jobs and personal online identities."
Referencing the Flint water crisis, Tara Haelle explains why reporters are justified in ignoring or discrediting fringe commentators who suggest that news about lead in drinking water is overblown: "They’re even entitled to say it, just as anyone can claim the Earth is flat, the moon landing didn’t happen, the sun circles the Earth and cavemen rode dinosaurs. But the facts reveal a real crisis that every other politician inside and outside Michigan is taking seriously."
Maria Popova cites psychologist Jerome Bruner on the cognitive roots of narrative: "A good story and a well-formed argument are different natural kinds. Both can be used as means for convincing another. Yet what they convince of is fundamentally different: arguments convince one of their truth, stories of their lifelikeness. The one verifies by eventual appeal to procedures for establishing formal and empirical proof. The other establishes not truth but verisimilitude."
Tabitha M. Powledge covers the latest volleys over credit for the CRISPR gene-editing technique, including whether a recent Eric Lander paper shortchanged the contributions of female scientists: "It seems to me the issue with the Lander paper goes way beyond simple disclosure of his institution’s stake in the CRISPR origin story. Why do you suppose Cell’s editors convinced themselves that it was a good idea to publish CRISPR history as written by one of the principals?"