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From ScienceWriters: WCSJ2017 update

ScienceWriters cover winter 2015-16

Most American science journalists and others who help in shuttling information and analysis from the realm of science to the public in plain English surely have heard at least vaguely about something called the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ). It is coming soon to the USA for the first time. In less than two years, our kind will be in downtown San Francisco for a self-improvement confab among a global bevy of science journalists and their like. Key activities include workshops, mad gossip in the hallways, tours, and lectures from experts on hot science on the horizon.

From ScienceWriters: What writers need to know about tax audits

ScienceWriters cover winter 2015-16

Most freelancers fear audits, but there are ways to lessen the trauma and expense of encounters with the Internal Revenue Service. Here are some reminders for NASW members on how to cope with audits.

From ScienceWriters: Information Access Database

ScienceWriters cover winter 2015-16

Have you ever had trouble getting access to information or sources you need for a story? To help address the problem, the recently reconstituted Information Access Committee has created a database in which NASW members can share experiences trying to gain hard-to-obtain information or speak to scientists to whom access is restricted by institutional media policies.

From ScienceWriters: Budget cuts claim The Why Files

ScienceWriters cover winter 2015-16

The Why Files: The Science Behind the News, one of the oldest popular science websites, ceased publication on Jan. 21, roughly the 20th anniversary of its birth as an experiment in the nascent technology once called the World Wide Web. The cause of death was a university-wide belt tightening at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

From ScienceWriters: What’s the right way to talk about psychology?

ScienceWriters cover winter 2015-16

Here are some words and phrases you have probably been misusing: comprise, fulsome, foundering, begging the question. Here are some others: comorbidity, latent construct, hierarchical stepwise regression, principal components factor analysis. That second list comes from a review titled “Fifty Psychological and Psychiatric Terms to Avoid: a List of Inaccurate, Misleading, Misused, Ambiguous, and Logically Confused Words and Phrases”, which was published in Frontiers in Psychology by researchers from Emory University, Sacred Heart College, Georgia State University, and SUNY–Binghamton.

From ScienceWriters: PIO Forum: Ideas are not soap

ScienceWriters cover winter 2015-16

Over recent years, more and more research institutions seem to be adopting a corporate marketing approach to their communications. You can recognize these marketers by their use of such buzzwords as branding, messaging, market penetration, and cost-benefit analysis. It’s an approach that risks compromising research communications, and more broadly a research institution’s missions to create and disseminate knowledge. But corporate marketing is by definition shallow marketing. By aiming to sell the institution as a branded product, it fails to serve the intellectually rich marketplace of ideas in which researchers operate.


ScienceWriters,Winter 2015-16

Requiem for The Why Files; Jeff Hecht's guide to self-republishing; an update on the World Conference of Science Journalists 2017; what writers should know about IRS audits; plus the usual departments, book reviews, and news about NASW members. Full text visible to NASW members only.

From ScienceWriters: “Mighty Microbes” are focus of Patrusky Lecture

ScienceWriters Fall 2015 cover

The federal government has assembled a fast-track committee to encourage research into microorganisms, reflecting the recognition of their increasingly important role in human health and the Earth’s climate. Jo Handelsman, Ph.D., a Yale microbiologist and current associate director for science to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), described the initiative during her Patrusky Lecture at this year’s New Horizons in Science briefing.

From ScienceWriters: New leadership for the ISWA

ScienceWriters Fall 2015 cover

The International Science Writers Association (ISWA), arguably the world’s oldest international organization of science journalists, has a new roster of officers as of Sept. 1. James Cornell has retired from the office of president and was succeeded by Pallava Bagla, author, columnist, Science correspondent, and science editor for New Delhi Television, India.

From ScienceWriters: Don’t play games on reporting income

ScienceWriters Fall 2015 cover

Most NASW members and other freelancers are “cash basis” taxpayers. That’s IRS jargon for, among others, writers who have to declare advances and royalties for books and payments for articles in the year that they actually receive them. Similarly, the IRS generally forbids freelancers from deducting business expenses and other allowable outlays until the year that they actually pay them.