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ScienceWriters magazine

Moving from staff to freelance

Leaving my last job was easy: I got laid off, along with 104 other Time Inc. employees. My boss called with the news on the morning of my 45th birthday. Like so many other journalists, I had finally acquired enough experience and seniority to make myself unaffordable.

A look at science milestones

In recognition of NASW's 75th anniversary and CASW's 50th, ScienceWriters is remembering the past. The spring issue revisited events from 1934 to 1959. This one focuses on NASW's next twenty-five years, 1960 to 1984, an era of huge strides in space and innovation. Don't miss the anniversary celebrations for both organizations at this fall's ScienceWriters2010 conference in New Haven, Conn.

Recession hits science writers

Last year, the NASW statistical section geographically analyzed our membership, noting certain preferential parameters. But that was before the Great Recession had sunk its teeth into the economy. 2010 seemed like a good time to repeat the investigation to see what effects the recession has had on NASW members.

Career development success

"Thank you NASW for believing in me and helping me to make this exciting step in my career." That statement by science writer Erica Gies echoes the sentiments of 16 science writers who received NASW career development grants in 2009.

Creating a graduate program

Beginning this fall, I'll be creating a new graduate program in science writing at Florida Atlantic University, in Jupiter. Fla., just north of West Palm Beach. And although I haven't yet told him this, I owe the job, at least in part, to Dave Perlman.

Applying to a grad program?

Dear Prospective Student: Thanks very much for your interest in our graduate program in science writing. You're off to a good start by sending a professional message with some well-composed details about your background and your desire to enter our field. We'll talk soon over the phone, and I welcome you to visit us here in the redwoods. In the meantime, you've asked what I look for in our applicants — the signs that you might be a good fit for us, and vice versa. I'm happy to oblige.

How to prevent grievances

The relationship between a freelance writer and a publisher thrives on mutual respect, clear expectations, and professional behavior on both sides. That's the ideal. But it doesn't always work out that way, and writers sometimes end up getting what they consider to be unfair treatment.

Thinking like a fact checker

Mistakes happen in any profession, but when one is made in journalism, thousands — sometimes millions — of people see it. At best, this is embarrassing. At worst, there are lawyers involved.

The alchemy of book marketing

"Was I this obsessive about the last book?" I asked my husband the other day, after trotting into the living room to report on my morning Amazon check for The Poisoner's Handbook. (Wow! In the 100s! After six weeks!)

Why Futurity fails

Born as the idea of a handful of senior university PR officials and billed as an alternative source for science news in a world supposedly hemorrhaging science writers, the Futurity website offers up four or five new research stories daily, fresh from the country's major research universities.