Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Hard to tell if these headlines are using fear-mongering as clickbait, or simply riding the latest wave of stories reporting on the escalating suicide rates in the U.S.: Millions are taking drugs, including birth control, that increase the risk of suicide (Quartz) Study: Adults Use Medications That Can Lead to Depression and Suicide (US News... more
Most journalists who cover health or education struggle to obtain government records and data that are vital to our stories and have compelling public interest. While some agencies are reasonably accommodating, others exploit every loophole or gray area in the law to deny public records requests. Article type: ScienceWriters magazineArticle... more
A new study confirms something we here at have been emphasizing for many years: Health news stories often overstate the evidence from a new study, inaccurately claiming that one thing causes another — as in drinking alcohol might help you live longer, facial exercises may keep your cheeks perky, and that diet soda might... more
Unexpected pleasure on tasting an obscure Middle Eastern wine found in his Amman, Jordan, hotel minibar sparked Kevin Begos’ ten-year odyssey to explore wine’s history. In Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor & the Search for the Origins of Wine, Begos shares his findings from archeological digs to contemporary efforts to decode the DNA of... more
Editors’ note: We are saddened by the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. This Storygram was written and readied for publication before their deaths, and we feel that the best way to honor them, as well as the scores of not-famous people impacted by suicide and mental illness, is to publish. The more people who read and think... more
Photo courtesy of Daniella Zalcman. Graphic by Ella Koeze courtesy of FiveThirtyEight. (Originally published at FiveThirtyEight.)   The following story diagram—or Storygram—annotates an award-winning story to shed light on what makes some of the best science writing so outstanding. The Storygram series is a joint project of The Open... more
Click here to read more stories about real people harmed by misleading messages, or share your own story. When we recently announced our new series on patient harms from misleading media, I heard from Robert O’Connor, PhD, research head for the Irish Cancer Society.  He wanted to add an international perspective to what we were seeing about... more
Benjamin Mazer MD Theranos, the fraudulent laboratory company whose rise and fall is recounted in a recent exposé entitled “Bad Blood,” was a darling of investors and news outlets for a more than a decade. The company suffered a rapid change of fate in late 2015 after Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou revealed the shaky underpinnings of... more
The CBS Morning News packed so much hyperbolic punch into one piece, it was breathtaking.  They promoted the piece as “only seen on CBS This Morning,” and thank goodness for that.   Keep in mind that the story admitted that the compound hasn’t been tested in humans yet.  In that context, let these claims soak in: The story... more
We’ve just wrapped up a busy week of scrutinizing the news coverage of the world’s largest cancer meeting. In many ways medical meetings symbolize what is functional and dysfunctional about our current health care system. On the plus side, you’ll find a host of incredibly talented and committed providers eager to learn and eager... more