Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Expose • (verb) / ikˈspōz/ • Make (something) visible, typically by uncovering it • “At low tide the sands are exposed” • Synonyms: reveal, uncover, lay bare. Undoubtedly, one of the most important roles journalism plays in society is to expose. The articles we feature below are great examples of this, and we give the reporters 5 stars... more
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We’ve been closely tracking healthcare-related news releases for several years now, systematically reviewing more than 550 using our 10 criteria. We can’t get to every news release we see–the churn is vast. That’s why we’re starting a new ongoing blog series, problematic PR releases, looking at some of the big-picture... more
News organizations rightly reported the numerous asterisks attached to a small mid-stage study of a potential Alzheimer’s treatment highlighted at this week’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. As some stories reported, the study was a Phase 2 trial that hasn’t been peer reviewed or published in a journal, in... more
After 12 years in which we’ve published more than 2,500 news story reviews, we’ve found that reports out of medical meetings are among the most superficial and imbalanced journalism that we evaluate. Study abstracts presented at these meetings are often pitched as urgent or a ‘breakthrough’, when actually they’re... more
Many everyday things have been proposed to cause Alzheimer’s disease over the years — deodorant, dental fillings, diet soda, and flu shots, to name just a few. But none of these proposed causes has stood up to sustained scientific scrutiny, and the alarm bells raised by early research have turned out to be false alarms. Now here comes... more
Last Friday’s announcement that pharmaceutical giant Bayer will stop selling its controversial Essure birth control device understandably drew massive attention from both social and mainstream media. Critics of the device — like Angie Firmalino who helped launch a social media campaign with the Facebook group “Essure Problems... more
Naturalpastels/Pixabay (CC0)   Welcome back for another installment of Ask TON. Here’s our latest question: “As a writer, I often turn in first drafts of articles that are over the assigned word count by around 20 to 30 percent. I do so knowing that the story will need to be trimmed but wanting the editor’s feedback on what should... more
It doesn’t help matters when a news release opens with a quote like this from one of the study’s lead authors: Artificially sweetened drinks have a checkered reputation in the public because of the purported health risks that have never really been documented. Our study clearly shows they help avoid cancer recurrence and death in... more