Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Courtesy of Alaina LevineAlaina Levine at Biosphere 2, a unique earth system science research facility in Oracle, Arizona. As a business and lifestyle reporter, Arizona-based freelance journalist Alaina Levine never expected a newspaper ad about spiders to play a key role in her journalism career. But in 2012, it landed her a story with Scientific... more
Sandeep Ravindran is a freelance science writer based in New York City. He has written about life sciences and technology for publications such as Smithsonian, National Geographic News, Nature, The Scientist, Wired, Popular Science, and Science News for Students. Before becoming a science writer he received a microbiology PhD from Stanford... more
I doubt a week goes by at that we don’t write about one of the following … … drugs, mice, or money. You could rightly accuse me of being predictable when I say that following the money has gotten trickier in health care journalism; that pharma as a lobbyist makes the auto industry of the post-war years look... more
It’s 2050. Lifelike neuromorphic robots provide domestic, professional, even sexual services for their human owners. Then a rogue engineer programs robots to murder and rob their owners. Dennis Meredith’s sixth sci-fi thriller, The Neuromorphs, explores possibilities and drawbacks of AI. Meredith's nonfiction books include Explaining Research, a... more
Just when many Americans are pondering how they will fit into their bathing suits this summer, NBC’s Today Show has delivered an answer: nerve freezing. A segment last week had host Megyn Kelly fawning over the “success” of a nurse named Melissa Donovan, who said she lost 25 pounds after undergoing an experimental procedure to... more
Last Friday, several news outlets reported that a study of a cancer drug combination cocktail showed it didn’t help melanoma patients live any longer, when compared to using one of the drugs alone. Specifically, the study was examining if adding an experimental drug known as epacadostat would boost the effectiveness of the checkpoint... more
Recently we wrote about lopsided news coverage of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a drug used in emergency rooms to open blocked vessels in patients suspected of having a stroke. While experts vigorously debate whether tPA helps patients, there’s a movement underway to speed the administration of this clot-buster by deploying specially... more
khrawlings/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)   Most every freelancer has gotten stuck with a low-paying assignment or two (or, let’s be real—probably more than a few). While poor pay is often an unavoidable part of freelancing, low pay rates aren’t just damaging to freelancers’ bank accounts. They also threaten journalists’ ability to do high-quality work... more
Here’s an example of what can happen when a study author makes grandiose claims, a news release unabashedly promotes these claims, and a host of reporters run with it because the topic is popular (food allergies) and the affected group is vulnerable (babies). How baby wipes are making your baby sick (NY Post) Baby wet wipes ’cause food... more
A Wall Street Journal article published last week (‘The Food That Helps Battle Depression‘) had this subheading: “The right kind of diet may give the brain more of what it needs to avoid depression, or even to treat it once it’s begun” It’s a bold claim for which the story provides little in the way of... more