ScienceWriters excerpts

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  • The five-day program for the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists features global issues, research topics and challenges, a chance to learn how science writing is done around the world, and a star-studded cast of headline speakers together with all the classic elements of a ScienceWriters meeting: professional development workshops, networking events, field trips, a pitch slam, and Lunch with a Scientist. The early registration discount ends on August 1.

  • Despite continuous cuts in IRS budgets and shrinking staffs, the agency remains able to deal with taxpayers who fail to file returns. Internal Revenue Code Section 6020 allows the IRS to complete returns and make assessments for taxes, penalties for failing to file, and for late payment of taxes and interest charges.

  • Veteran science journalist Erika Check Hayden, senior reporter for Nature and a longtime lecturer in the science communication program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, became the program’s third director in January. Check Hayden was selected by a committee of UCSC faculty and alumni after a national search. She succeeds current director Robert Irion, who is retiring from the university after leading the program for 10 years.

  • Congratulations, you’ve been awarded a fellowship to the tune of $10,000. Don’t lose part of the largess by needlessly overpaying your self-employment tax. While you’re liable for income taxes on the $10,000, you’re not liable for self-employment taxes on the amount. How come? Because, like other writers, you aren’t in the business of receiving fellowships.

  • Scientists and professionals at research institutions eager to inform the public about their work need to go where the readers or, increasingly, the viewers are. Instead of driving traffic to their websites, a panel of public information officers, editors, and journalists recommend creating science content specifically for use on Snapchat, Facebook Live, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media outlets.

  • Two dozen print and electronic journalists from across the Southeast got a glimpse of what’s coming next in the climate story during Measure Globally, Respond Locally, a mini-conference held August 15 and 16 in Asheville, N.C.

  • If confusion is the first step to knowledge, FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) users must be geniuses. Fee categories. Pre-determination agency actions. Multitrack processing. Administrative appeals. Glomar responses. In some ways, the FOIA is as impenetrable as it is helpful, but a new resource wants to change all that: FOIA Wiki, which launched in beta Oct. 3.

  • Seattle-based science writers and playwrights collaborated to produce theatrical works in a week. “Theatre is where we come together as a society to do our collective thinking,” said David Mills, artistic director of Infinity Box. “Theatrical stories help us think ahead about the human consequences of changes driven by science and technology.