Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Earlier earlier this week, just in time for flu season, the ‘Well’ section of the New York Times (a lifestyle-focused part of their health section) offered this 233-word slice of pap: An Upbeat Mood May Boost Your Flu Shot’s Effectiveness I won’t burden you by going in-depth on why this headline is particularly misleading;... more
With September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in full swing, an industry-affiliated partnership has turned to high-profile former NFL coaches to deliver its prostate cancer screening message. It’s a clever choice: professional coaches are good at getting men to do all kinds of things they might not otherwise want to do, whether it’s... more
Jason HoustonLizzie Wade in the Andes.   The western Amazon, which includes parts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil, is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. The 6.7-million-square-kilometer [2.6-million-square-mile] region is home to 10 percent of the world’s known species. What gave rise to the Amazon rainforest’s... more
As a self-avowed beer snob, I would be the kind of audience that would surely be lured by the health clickbait proclaiming “Beer hops may protect against liver disease.” After all, when you find something that reinforces your questionable habits, how can you not click on it? That is the essence of clickbait–to write a headline that’s... more
Multiple news outlets are covering a new study conducted in Mexico on fluoride exposure during pregnancy and its association with lower childhood IQ. Water fluoridation is common across the U.S. and the potential to stoke unwarranted fear is great. If you are reading or writing about this study here are four questions should you should be asking... more
Taxpayers who make mistakes on their 1040 forms are subject to stiff penalties and interest charges, all nondeductible. Are taxpayers excused from those assessments if they're able to show their reliance on information in the IRS's own publications? Only in whatever kind of life is yet to come. Article type: ScienceWriters magazineArticle... more
A study about alcohol use during pregnancy kicked up major media waves last weekend—but was all that frothy coverage warranted? It was another lesson in the pitfalls of reporting on scientific research, as headlines around the world issued some potentially dangerous misinformation. The Times of London, one of the largest daily newspapers in the UK... more
“Something is really, really wrong with me,” Julie Rehmeyer realized. Once an avid biker, she staggered when she walked. Everyday chores exhausted her. Some physicians she consulted dismissed or trivialized her complaints. The diagnosis, slow in coming, was chronic fatigue syndrome. The treatment options she was offered proved costly and useless.... more
Yesterday we reported that 5 patient deaths linked to gastric weight loss balloon devices actually may be “the tip of the iceberg,” due to weak FDA regulations that don’t require mandatory reporting of complications from healthcare providers. As a result, no one really knows how many patients have died or suffered serious... more
Annalee Newitz is the tech culture editor at Ars Technica and the founding editor of io9. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of popular tech site Gizmodo. She’s the author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her first science fiction novel, ... more