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.
Tabitha M. Powledge reports on the latest research showing a correlation between coffee consumption and reduced mortality: "Previous conflicting results were apparently due to the fact that coffee and cigarettes have so frequently been consumed together. So in some previous studies, the ill effects of smoking have been masking the good effects of coffee." Also, new discoveries at a Chilean archaeological site suggest there were really two migrations of early Americans.
Melody Kramer writes about her informal survey of people who don't work for the news media and don't live in the three big U.S. media centers: "I was curious if they still relied on local news sources, or whether they preferred national publications. I wanted to know how many of them changed their habits as their local publications changed, and I wanted to know if my own media habits were skewed by working in journalism in Washington, D.C. (Spoiler alert: they were.)"
Adrienne Lafrance writes about the secrets of the centuries-old publication's endurance: "It must have seemed, to the people of the 1792, when The Farmer’s Almanac was founded, something like what a smartphone is to people today: a handheld, portable device that contained information about all manner of things — health advice, weather predictions, jokes, recipes, charts detailing the times of sunrises and sunsets, and other 'new, useful, and entertaining' tidbits."
Submitted by Lynne Lamberg on Wed, 11/25/2015 - 08:18
While humans have evolved to detect visible light — the energy range our Sun radiates most strongly — we also are surrounded by an invisible spectrum that ranges from radio waves to gamma rays. In Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond, Kimberly Arcand and NASW member Megan Watzke, both of whom work in the communications group at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, explore and explain, using words and artists’ science-based visual translations, all the light we can and cannot see.
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."