Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

A health care message can get polluted, diluted, and distorted by many people as it moves from researchers, through journals and press releases, and ultimately into the news coverage. Here’s an example of what happens when it starts at the source with grandiose language used by the study authors, is perpetuated in newswire/releases and the... more
The story began:  “It is not often that another country beats the US to a medical breakthrough.  So when it happens, you know it’s something special.” But buyer beware.  Because it’s not so special when the story is bylined from “The Associated Health Press.” That’s not the venerable Associated Press wire... more
Using cancer as clickbait is ubiquitous and worrisome. It’s one thing to highlight studies that represent genuine progress, and quite another to write hopeful headlines about studies that are clearly not ready for prime time. Such is the case with 4 of the stories we feature below. It may seem like too widespread a problem to have an impact... more
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Whenever you see a news story that contains imbalanced and inaccurate information about health care, you’d be justified in wondering whether the content originated with a poor-quality PR news release. We’ve been demonstrating how these promotional documents can mislead readers about animal studies, phase 1 research, and minimally ... more
Kelly Brenner   What’s it like to report on science in a language that doesn’t have a word for science? To be an immigrant freelancer whose career is at the mercy of a labyrinthine visa system? To work in a newsroom where no one looks like you—and no one else sees that as a problem? Our personal experiences, backgrounds, and circumstances... more
Kelly BrennerSome autistic writers have poor working memory and can become overwhelmed trying to retain too many details at once.   If there is one response as a writer I dread more than a rejection to a pitch, it’s this one: “I’d be happy to talk to you. Why don’t you give me a call?” When I hear the first few clarinet notes of Rhapsody in... more
What follows should not be viewed as a dissent of the PIO Committee letter of support for the amendment on officer qualifications or of the proposal to amend officer qualifications. It is an analysis of how NASW operations could be affected if non-journalists were to serve as officers.
Curious about who we are and what your fellow members think? Check out the 3-page spread of membership survey results in this sneak peek excerpt from the ScienceWriters Fall issue. Article topic: NASW news
Sometimes all it takes is a little Bob Marley; not just his music, but quotes like this: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” When integrity is lost — especially by those who we expect it from in the field of health care... more

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