Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

As pleased as I was to see smart people grappling with the problem of misleading health news last week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that “fake” stories are a major problem with health news today. “Fake Health News Metastasizes” was the title of the Aspen session addressing this topic, and it was... more
The periodic table is one of the most iconic symbols of science of all time, Adrian Dingle observes in his latest chemistry book for a general audience, The Elements — A Tour of the Periodic Table. Both a science writer and a high school and college chemistry teacher, Dingle provides a conversationally-written, generously illustrated overview of... more
This would be a good case history for the next textbook on media ethics. On radio and television in the Providence, Rhode Island area, Dr. Tad Sztykowski bought media time to reach listeners and viewers about his work at his Centers for Integrative Medicine and Healing. Now he may need to buy time to think about what’s next in his career,... more
At the end of New York State’s legislative session two weeks ago, a bill mandating insurers to pay for tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography, passed the Senate, the last hurdle before reaching the governor’s desk. In truth, the bill had no hurdles. No dissenting votes – not in the Senate or in the Assembly, which approved the measure... more
Shanna Baker Colin Schultz took the blog path to editing, but that path may be getting overgrown. Depending on how you define these things, science blogging began in earnest in the early 2000s. That makes science blogging into something of a teenager: still unsure of what it will become as it continues to mature... more
KARE-11, NBC, Minneapolis graphic lead-in to Mayo Clinic story Health care news that is spoonfed by medical centers to local TV news organizations can perhaps do as much harm as good. How? Such “news” can and does mislead readers when the TV station accepting the spoon-feeding doesn’t do any original reporting, doesn’t have anyone on... more
It’s easy to get caught up in words like media, journalism, and news, and forget that what we do — and why we do it — is the joy of telling stories. In health care the topics we cover can run the gamut from the mundane or heavily scientific, to the heart-wrenching and controversial. But they are all ultimately human stories. We... more
The origin of the domestic cat, Felis catus, is radically different from the origin stories of our other domestic animals. All of them are deliberate human creations. Cats appear to have domesticated... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
What a story from USA Today: “Extra virgin olive oil staves off Alzheimer’s, preserves memory, new study shows.” I’m not even sure where to begin on this one. So. Many. Issues. And, unfortunately, USA Today was not the only news outlet to cover this study. Newsweek, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Philadelphia Inquirer all covered it... more
In March, the Rockefeller University launched Seek, a new research magazine with freelance opportunities for science writers (additional info further down). Although the role of a university's research magazine is to promote its research program, Seek aims also to contribute to larger conversations — about the power of biomedicine, the ethical... more