Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Journalism or PR? Readers face a coin flip with some HealthDay news stories. On some days, half or more of the consumer news output of HealthDay, the health news wire service, consists of rewritten news releases that contain little if any original reporting. These stories are among the content that HealthDay says it licenses to “thousands of... more
Are you living or working in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Louisiana? Thanks to an NASW Idea Grant awarded to some of your creative colleagues in Austin, Texas, the first SciCommSouth meetup for writers and communicators in the South Central region will take place in Austin on Jan. 13. Register by Nov. 15 for the early bird rate.... more
On left – ‘brain activation pattern’ on contemplating the word “death” in a subject who had attempted suicide; On right – the pattern of a control subject also thinking about the word “death” (from study) It’s hard to believe that the above functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) image... more
The NASW Grants Committee is now accepting applications for 2017-2018 Peggy Girshman Idea Grants for projects from $1,000 to $25,000. Applications are due on December 15, 2017. [Read more]( for application instructions and helpful hints. Article type: Grants &... more
While there has been significant news media coverage of proprietary clinics that hawk unproven stem cell “treatments” to vulnerable patients, much less attention has been paid to misleading stem cell claims made by elite academic medical centers. These academic medical centers promote stem cell therapies that haven’t been proven to work.... more
“Once I started looking, I found jellyfish stories everywhere,” Juli Berwald writes in Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone. “I spent hours reading about their shape, how they swim, what they eat, whether they think, how they reproduce, how they sting, how they glow.” Berwald traveled the globe to observe and swim... more
Health care professionals who received gifts from the pharmaceutical industry not only wrote more prescriptions, but also more costly ones (including more brand name medications), than colleagues who did not receive such gifts. That’s the main takeaway from a study published last week looking at the prescription practices of nearly 3,000... more
Melissa Hendricks is the Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Master of Arts in Science Writing program. The program offers online courses, as well as immersive residencies at Johns Hopkins Hospital; Bar Harbor, Maine; and other locations. Hendricks attended Wesleyan University and the University of California Santa Cruz Science Communication... more
Couldn't make it to San Francisco for the Tenth World Conference of Science Journalists? You can read about the proceedings thanks to 21 student fellows from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the U.S. who have been reporting on the conference. Check out their reports now and in days to come as more reports are filed. Article type: World... more
For most of the year now, the story for health care reporters has been the policy drama of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Meanwhile, apart from drug costs, the business side of health care has generated fewer headlines, although its impact on our nation’s economy and quality of life is arguably just as important. I wanted to explore this less-... more