Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

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
A 49-year-old Floridian named Judy Perkins with metastatic breast cancer, whose illness has progressed despite multiple trials of chemotherapy, goes into complete remission after being treated with immunotherapy by Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD —  whom CBS dubs “a pioneer in harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.” Rosenberg is... more
“The understanding that wetlands store and purify water has fueled some creative efforts to protect natural wetlands,” Sharon Levy reports. In The Marsh Builders: The Fight for Clean Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife, Levy chronicles the citizen-run battle to construct wetlands in Arcata, Calif., her home since 1994, and explores the impact of water... more
Researcher Jeffrey Oxnard, MD, answers a reporter’s questions about an abstract on the feasibility of using blood samples to detect lung cancer. We often tell our readers to run for the hills whenever they see a news story touting a “simple blood test.” You won’t find a better example of why you need to be wary than an... more
We often write about the problems arising from hyped news releases coming out of medical conferences. But I don’t think we’ve ever written about an over-the-top news release getting toned down — and re-released — with more cautious language. Kudos to the media team at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical... more
BuzzFeed NewsNidhi Subbaraman BuzzFeed News reporter Nidhi Subbaraman knew almost nothing about the long and troubled history of tribal health care in the United States when she began covering the lawsuit that the Rosebud Sioux tribe was bringing against the U.S. government for its failure to provide treaty-mandated health care to tribal members.... more