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  • From ScienceWriters: Let’s refocus on structure

    ScienceWriters Spring 2015 cover

    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.

  • From ScienceWriters: Why writers need wills

    ScienceWriters Spring 2015 cover

    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.

  • From ScienceWriters: Call them climate “deniers,” not “skeptics”

    ScienceWriters Winter 2014-15 cover

    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.

  • From ScienceWriters: How libel-proof is your writing?

    ScienceWriters Winter 2014-15 cover

    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.

  • From ScienceWriters: Idea grant leads to investigative reporting series

    ScienceWriters Winter 2014-15 cover

    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.

  • From ScienceWriters: Retraction Watch receives $400,000 grant

    ScienceWriters Winter 2014-15 cover

    After more than four years, 2,000 posts, and incredible responses from the scientific community, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky announce that their organization has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to expand the work of Retraction Watch. The goal of the grant — $200,000 per year for two years — is to create a comprehensive and freely available database of retractions, something that doesn’t now exist.

  • From ScienceWriters: Understanding IRS filing extensions

    ScienceWriters Winter 2014-15 cover

    Tuesday, April 15, is the deadline for filing Form 1040 for calendar year 2014. It can prove expensive to miss the deadline because the law authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to impose a substantial, nondeductible penalty. Generally, the penalty is five percent of the balance due (the amount that remains unpaid after subtractions for taxes previously paid through withholdings from wages and quarterly payments of estimated taxes). The IRS charges five percent for each month, or portion of a month, that a 1040 is late.

  • From ScienceWriters: Pitching your book proposal to an agent

    How do you find an agent? What material should you send? Those questions on NASW-Books generated this recent exchange and tips from NASW authors.

  • From ScienceWriters: Student filmmakers in vaccine/autism fray

    Every school day, students at Carlsbad High tune in their classroom televisions to a news show produced by its award-winning broadcast journalism program. But no one expected the kind of attention that has lately muzzled one of its most acclaimed works — a short documentary produced by an extracurricular offshoot of the program. The movie, “Invisible Threat,” bills itself as a report on “the science of disease and the risks facing a society that is under-vaccinated.”

  • From ScienceWriters: Tips for paying estimated taxes

    NASW members are reminded that the IRS takes a dim view of freelance writers and other self-employed individuals who miss deadlines for filing federal tax returns or the due dates for making estimated tax payments. Miss just one, says the IRS, and it might exact a sizable, nondeductible penalty, which is based on the agency’s current interest rate for back taxes.