Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

It’s pretty indisputable that cheese is delicious. But could it also be good for you? That’s the clickable headline of the day, based on this meta-analysis of past studies looking at the relationship between cheese and heart disease. As with all observational research, there are some important caveats. Here are four worth keeping in... more
Remember when Pokémon Go was going to be the next big thing for depression and anxiety? Those were heady days. Of course you’d be hard-pressed to find many Pokémon hunters at the local PokéStop nowadays. And yet in the summer of 2016, we tracked all sorts of health claims related to the app, including one that was based on a “study” that didn’t... more
Allegations of sexual harassment or assault by powerful men generate daily news headlines. In Advance Copy, Mark Pendergrast discusses how he jumps into the fray with his newest book, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment. Pendergrast asks: Did false memories, uncritical reporting, and the lure of potential large... more
For many of us a “sham” is not a good thing. It conjures images of fraud and being duped. But in the world of surgery (and other interventional procedures) a sham — or sham surgery, more precisely — can be a positive thing. Last month was a good example as the publication of three separate studies — all using sham... more
Smithsonian Magazine’s American Ingenuity Awards aim to celebrate the “cutting edge of American achievement” by recognizing innovators in a variety of fields. But in its zeal to honor a groundbreaking stem cell researcher, the official journal of the Smithsonian Institution may have contributed to unbalanced media coverage that often leads... more
  Volkan Olmez/Unsplash (CC0)   When freelance science journalist Tara Haelle first started writing about medical studies, she admits she had no clue what she was doing. She quoted press releases and read only study abstracts—practices that make most science journalists cringe. But in the spring of 2012, Haelle attended a workshop run by... more
Here’s a perfect storm. Take several common diseases that affect millions of people —  like antibiotic-resistant infections, Alzheimer’s disease, major depression and bipolar disease —  and then write headlines about recent (or old!) studies on these illnesses that hint at hope. But then, in the ensuing article, don’t... more
“Cure” is one of the seven words we think you should avoid in health care journalism. Stories from The Guardian and other news outlets demonstrate why this term shouldn’t be thrown around carelessly. Their blaring headlines today raise hope that a cancer drug could “cure” HIV infection — a global scourge... more
Entries for the 2018 Science in Society Journalism Awards are open, and this year's contest features a new category. With cash prizes, no entry fees for members, and submissions open to members and non-members alike, we hope that you enter your best work from this year and encourage your colleagues to enter, too. Entries close Feb. 1, 2018.... more
With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror and the new year on the horizon, it’s not too soon to look forward to reporting on health care stories in 2018. In the world of health policy, the fate of the Affordable Care Act and one of its key provisions – the individual mandate — will likely continue to dominate headlines for the foreseeable... more

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