Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

The current media landscape is a confusing swirl of reality, misinformation, and so-called fake news. How can science communicators navigate a political climate that's increasingly hostile to both science and journalism? Experts from several related disciplines addressed the situation at a day-long conference hosted by the Rockefeller University.... more
Getty images At least 10 news organizations rushed this week to cover a study asserting that the widely used painkiller ibuprofen might cause male infertility. Among them: CNN: Ibuprofen linked to male infertility, study says USA Today: Ibuprofen use linked to male infertility, study finds HealthDay/CBS News: Small study links ibuprofen with male... more
Do you have migraine attacks? Use a $12 over-the-counter ear plug-type device called MigraineX, a recent news release insisted, and you’ll experience an 81% improvement in weather-related migraine headaches.   Some news organizations took the PR bait. Fox 4 Kansas City included the product in a news segment on natural, affordable migraine remedies... more
Chrissie Giles studied biochemistry at the University of Leeds in England. Concluding that clumsiness and practical science do not mix, she completed a master’s in science communication at Imperial College London in 2003 and has been working as a writer and editor ever since. Her editorial career began in a medical communications agency and, via a... more
Left – Otis Brawley; Right – Gil Welch An opinion piece in last week’s Annals of Internal Medicine argues that just how aggressively we screen for some cancers can actually distort our understanding of the risk factors for a particular cancer, as well as how common we perceive it to be. The authors describe ‘scrutiny-... more
A news release about a gene therapy that tantalizes with the phrase “could provide long-term protection against HIV” in its title — or claims in the opening paragraph that the therapy has “the potential to create long-term immunity from the virus that causes AIDS”  — certainly owes readers some solid context to... more
Here at, we’ve been known to be critical of news articles making health care claims that are based on research in animals. For recent examples, see these news story reviews:   Invasive weed kills superbugs? All we know is it might work in mice WaPo story generalizes findings of small study on mice to pregnant women WSJ... more
Getty Images As the season of New Year’s resolutions rolls around, it’s inevitable: Health and fitness stories will dominate our news feeds in the next few days and weeks. To help both writers and readers of healthcare information, we’ve put together a few resolutions that are handy now–and any time of year: Read–and heed–our 10... more
David Perlman is retiring from journalism. He's been a science writer through it all: The discovery of Lucy, Dolly the Sheep, the identification of exoplanets, the AIDS epidemic. He has a clip of his first story about AIDS on his office wall. It's maybe 12 or 15 inches long and was published in June 1981, around the start of the global scourge.... more
Getty Images A few years ago, the website posted a photo essay that captured a slice of the silliness of some stock photo collections.  Under a headline, but with no other words, there were simply 19 photos that matched the headline, “Women Laughing Alone With Salad.” But salad silliness isn’t limited to stock photo... more