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  • 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.

  • From ScienceWriters: Tackling gender bias and sexual harassment

    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.

  • From ScienceWriters: Adjusting to threats and harassment

    ScienceWriters Fall 2014

    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.

  • From ScienceWriters: Stanford blog becomes a news source

    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.