ScienceWriters meeting coverage

Subscribe to ScienceWriters meeting coverage

ScienceWriters meeting coverage

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.

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.

“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.

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.

Liz Neeley draws inspiration from an atypical source: the comedian Jon Stewart. In particular, the artist and Story Collider executive director enjoys reliving a moment in 2006 when Stewart appeared on the television show Crossfire. “Here’s just what I wanted to tell you guys,” Stewart told hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala. “You need to stop hurting America.”