Your friends at NASW, CASW, and Knight Science Journalism at MIT are hard at work on ScienceWriters2015, which lands in Cambridge, Mass., on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9 to 13. For a sneak preview of the meeting, read more. Full conference agenda and registration details available now at ScienceWriters2015.org.
"We moved three times the first 10 years, and, honestly, it posed no hardship because two moves brought us to the vicinity of Washington, D.C., where there’s a large science writing community, as well as lots of writing jobs that generally pay well," Brittany Moya del Pino writes. "However, when we moved to the Hawaiian island of Oahu last summer, the situation was quite different. This is the story of how I’ve been dealing with that difference, which at times was so great that it felt as if I had moved to a foreign country."
What happens when you cross a beloved and compelling theory, a bevy of intensely competitive experiments on a highly technical subject, with a top-secret press conference, tight deadlines, and the desire to tell an exciting story? Perhaps you get the ascent and fall of BICEP2.
Cambridge, Mass., isn’t simply the home of top research universities like MIT and Harvard. Acre for acre, the Kendall Square area around MIT boasts the highest density of academic, corporate, and startup R&D activity in the world. The Brookings Institution calls Kendall Square “today’s iconic innovation district.” All of which makes it the perfect setting for ScienceWriters2015, coming to MIT Oct. 9-13. Also, NASW and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing will host the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in fall 2017 in San Francisco.
"There has been a spate of research papers recently about how and why different audiences acquire and react to news; sometimes about science and sometimes about news more generally," Rick Borchelt writes. "Two captured my attention for what they can offer science communicators as we daily confront changes in the news landscape."
The work of science exposition calls for people who make a career of it, Victor McElheny writes. They must have a course of development to follow, as a serial entrepreneur like George Scangos, the CEO of Biogen Idec (to choose an example from the particularly strident atmosphere of biotechnology), could tell us. Careers, accumulations of experience, imply structures with standards. And science journalists have to be more like intellectuals than most journalists. They have to stay at it longer to get good.
According to surveys taken by bar associations, only a third of all persons with property to pass after they die have wills. What happens if you’re too busy or superstitious to write a will that spells out who is to get what upon your death? When you die without a will (intestate, in legalese), your assets pass in accordance with your state’s intestacy laws, Julian Block explains.
Prominent scientists, science communicators, and skeptic activists, including Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” physicist Lawrence Krauss, Cosmos co-creator Ann Druyan, and many others are calling on the news media to stop using the word “skeptic” when referring to those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change, and instead refer to them by what they really are: science deniers.
Trial-court cases do not make new law, but they can act in much the same way as canaries in mines — as sentinels of problems. That’s why every one who writes for a living should know what libel is, and how to avoid it if possible.
In March 2011, High Country News was awarded a $2,500 NASW Idea Grant to fund customized, in-depth training in investigative reporting techniques for its editorial staff. In the summer of 2011, Doug Haddix of Investigative Reporters and Editors spent two days at the magazine’s headquarters in Paonia, Colo., and gave a crash course in investigative story planning and execution. For some HCN writers and editors, it was a useful introduction to investigative reporting; for others, a welcome refresher.