Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Does using a statin improve your odds of surviving cancer? The typical news consumer might be excused for thinking the answer is yes, despite evidence to the contrary. That’s because news coverage of this issue has focused on positive findings from weak observational studies that suggest statins may have cancer-fighting properties. Far less media... more
Another local TV news sweeps period ended last week.  That means, as a Slate article described it, a time when TV networks and local stations “rely on shameless stunts to get viewers to tune in. Couch potatoes know that broadcasters use the viewership numbers collected during sweeps to set advertising rates for the rest of the year.”... more
Lane DeGregory spent months watching Ted Andrews, an 81-year-old artist with ALS, as he struggled along with his wife, Carolyn, to maintain control of the end of his life. DeGregory writes about her reporting process for the Tampa Bay Times story: "We had to learn to be patient, listen to the same stories five or six times, let him have his say,... more
More than 40 years after the final Apollo missions, it's prime time for deep space travel again, and Mars is in our sights, Tabitha M. Powledge writes: "There’s a planet that’s truly nearby, one that with some work could sustain life-as-we-know it, one with water and enough sunlight for food crops, one that, with some improvements in current... more
The Reynolds Journalism Institute studied 500 social media posts by 14 news outlets to produce a report on the good and bad in the media's social media efforts, including a list of "ideas worth stealing." One tip: "Embrace your humanity. Users are inviting your voice into their social feed, which is full of people talking to other people. Try to... more
It’s been a month since Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and I’m beginning to think it meant we were in for 6 weeks of great health care journalism (rather than 6 more weeks of winter). Last week was inspiring and this week had more excellent articles than we could write about. So don’t miss the links down at the bottom of the... more
LET’S GO TO MARS! Last week it was all about those 7 new planets that are “only” 39 light-years away and might perhaps possibly maybe be a home for life. But let’s get real:... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
NASW joins 80+ organizations in signing a statement on #pressfreedom prepared by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). Read the statement here.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which the American Institute of Cancer Research is marking with a news release headlined “6 Steps to Prevent Nearly Half of Colorectal Cancer Cases.” The recommendations are said to be “research-based” but that term appears to be used loosely. Here’s why. What’s wrong with issuing sensible lifestyle... more
“Is genetic knowledge empowering or fear-inducing, or both? Will it heighten the anxieties of already hyper-anxious helicopter moms and dads, always waiting for the genetic shoe to drop? … Will it stress parents out or make them savvier?” — Bonnie Rochman poses these questions in The Gene Machine, as she explores not only present and potential... more