Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

A big part of what we do could be called “criticism.” It’s a long and proud tradition that is often misunderstood as solely focusing on the “negative.” Which is not the case. If you dig deep enough into the etymology of criticism you will find roots in such words as discriminating, deciding, and – yes –... more
I’ll admit this is predictable, but I can’t resist: It’s a tale of two news releases. Released on the same day, about the same study, but with very different headlines. Creighton news release JAMA news release But first, the study: a randomized, placebo-controlled study run over four years by Creighton University, in... more
When drugs deemed potentially useful for medical treatment in published research papers advance into pharmaceutical testing regimes, nine out of ten fail. That’s because the underlying science wasn’t rigorous, writes Richard Harris, long-time NPR science correspondent and NASW’s president in 1997-98. In Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates... more
Men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer deserve to be informed of all treatment possibilities–including less-aggressive options such as active surveillance. But it’s not unusual to see news stories and PR efforts overlook the latter as an evidence-based choice. For example, a story in the New York Times last week highlighted the... more
Chest is a prestigious medical journal. NPR is a prestigious news organization. So when both publish findings (or, a story) suggesting vitamin C may be a possible treatment for sepsis, it gets attention. But is it the right kind of attention? Some news outlets definitely pumped up the story with headlines like these: “Virginia doctor’s... more
Courtesy of Matt ShipmanMatt Shipman wrote the book on being a Public Information Officer. Literally. Seven new planets that orbit a faraway star—and three that could potentially host life. A shark that lives for 400 years. A vaccine for Ebola. The biggest science headlines each year are covered by hundreds of different news outlets. And since... more