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.”
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.
Science writers take a “show me the numbers” approach when tackling a tough topic. So, organizers of Solutions Summit 2014: Women in Science Writing came armed with their own data to back up recent concerns that gender bias, inequity, and sexual harassment are still holding women back.
Science writers have always had to cope with angry readers or industries who don’t like their stories. Responding to criticism is part of the job. But these days journalists, PIOs, and scientists find themselves facing personal attacks and even death threats. Just writing about global warming, GMOs, or vaccines can trigger personal attacks or lawsuits. Women are also subjected to harassment, stalking, threats of rape, and barrages of pornography.
Cheap and easy blogging tools have given campus news offices the ability to self-publish some of the research news that has been increasingly difficult to place in the mainstream media. But when the media relations team at Stanford University School of Medicine started talking about launching a blog in 2008, they decided to go one step further and publish news not only of their campus, but general health and medicine news, including developments at other schools.
Thanks to the hard work of two talented Japanese PIOs, the scientists’ guide Working with Public Information Officers has been translated into Japanese and is available online (WorkingWithPIOs.com). Besides being enormously gratifying to have his work translated, the process taught author Dennis Meredith a lot about the challenges of spreading the word internationally about the value and importance of PIOs, and how scientists can best work with them.
A science café is any deliberately planned event in a public setting where people gather with a “discussion leader” to learn and talk about science in their lives. This format of science communication began to take off in England and France at the turn of the millennium and now can be found in hundreds of locations around the world. Ivan Amato discusses the birth of the D.C. Science Café.
Journalism can be maddeningly ephemeral. Days to months of reporting produce articles that spend a few weeks on the newsstand or just hours on a website’s home page. Then, poof! Old stories get buried by new ones. Readers are lost before they even had a chance to lay their eyes on what you wrote. It doesn’t have to be that way, says David Wolman, a freelancer in Portland, Ore., who has compiled a selection of his own articles and a few book chapters into a re-mastered collection that he has self-published digitally
Life can be hectic for an award-winner writer. Ask Dan Fagin, whose book Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation (Bantam Books) was honored in a doubleheader on May 28. First, came presentation of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, at a luncheon at Columbia University. This was followed that evening by receipt of the New York Public Library’s 2014 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.
It’s vital that you assume greater responsibility for your financial future. Don’t rely exclusively on paid advisers. At the very least, become knowledgeable enough to raise good questions and evaluate answers when dealing with professionals. The informed client gets the best advice.