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ScienceWriters meeting coverage

Coverage of CASW’s New Horizons in Science

New horizons logo

In addition to the NASW Fellows covering parts of ScienceWriters2015, 15 science graduate students covered the first day of CASW’s New Horizons in Science sessions as part of ComSciCon-SciWri15, a student-organized science-writing workshop that wrapped around the conference. NASW members provided tutorials, mentoring and editing to the ComSciCon participants. The experimental workshop was sponsored by CASW and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The stories are published on CASW’s Newsroom page.

You’ll get the story right, but what about the contract?

Contracts session at ScienceWriters2015

By Lindzi Wessel

Plans for the Fair Contracts Project session took an unexpected turn in the days leading up to the 2015 NASW meeting when meeting organizers discovered that uniting freelancers to develop a standard contract would violate anti-trust laws.

Vaccines and vaccine hesitancy: Lessons for science writers

What happens in the Happiest Place on Earth doesn't always stay at the Happiest Place on Earth. The measles outbreak at Disneyland this past spring infected 147 people in the U.S. and changed the dominant narrative on child vaccination. The celebrity spokespeople have quieted down, and doctors have become more adamant about vaccinating young patients. The panel took a retrospective look at where the media went wrong, and what science writers can learn from the story.

Funds for all: How to win an NASW Idea Grant

Jeanne Erdmann credits a $20,000 Idea Grant in 2011 with enabling her and co-founder Siri Carpenter to take their recently launched website The Open Notebook to the next level. Along the way, the process of writing and revising that first grant helped them to better explain how the money could make a significant difference for their online science writing resource, which has since garnered subsequent grants from NASW and other organizations. “Every time you write a grant, it really helps you to crystalize your idea,” said Erdmann, who spoke on a panel outlining the logistics and benefits of pursuing the funding.

Awards reception

Awards reception at ScienceWriters2015

From the puzzle of invasive beetles to the mystery of undiagnosed disease, ScienceWriters Awards Night celebrated the role of journalists as detectives. The year’s winners for excellent science writing — selected by the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing — accepted awards at an Oct. 10 ceremony in Cambridge, Mass.

Fact-checking: How to get everything perfectly right always

The post-publication discovery that you’ve made a reporting error can feel a lot like Wile E. Coyote’s shock after realizing he’s run off a cliff, says National Geographic deputy research director Brad Scriber. Even after his endless pursuit of Road Runner leads him off solid ground, the cartoon villain continues to speed through the air, until he looks down, understands his predicament and plummets.

Data journalism for every scale and skill level

By Diana Kwon

Data today is being gathered at record rates — and much of it easily accessible. New York City alone has over 1350 open data sets. “Our challenge now harnessing all this,” said Robert Lee Hotz, a science journalist at the Wall Street Journal and one of the four panellists in the data journalism session.

Four writers sat in a bar

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested, and the frog dies of it,” said moderator Florence Williams, quoting E.B. White. It was an apt opening for “Four writers sat in a bar: humor and voice in science writing,” which drew an eager, standing-room-only audience.

Embracing the B word

Embracing the B word session at ScienceWriters2015

In her opening remarks as moderator of the panel “Embrace the B word: Branding and Social Media,” Bethany Brookshire, staff education writer at Science News for Students and writer at Science News, warned attendees that they wouldn’t be getting a crash course in gaining Twitter followers.

Sexism, science-writing and solutions

Sexism, science-writing and solutions session at ScienceWriters2015

When Cristine Russell opened the panel on “Sexism, science-writing and solutions: Charting the future” she pointed out that during the several years the association has been working on the issue, current events have emphasized how central it is both in science writing and in science itself.