An organization that professes journalism principles should be led by journalists

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On Oct. 13, the members of the National Association of Science Writers — an organization of staff and freelance journalists, science communicators, and public information and media relations professionals — will vote on a proposed change to its bylaws that will allow those who pitch stories to journalists to become organization officers and serve as its public face. Below is a letter signed by 87 journalist members opposing this change. We’ve placed it here for ease of access. …

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by Cory Doctorow, via flickr (CC)

In the wake of a cascade of sexual-harassment accusations, some suggested next steps for a beloved science-writing conference

(Cross-posted from Wired Science Blogs.)

I mean this post to address the convulsions in the science-writing community that arose this past week in the wake of the problems faced by writer Danielle N. Lee, PhD, regarding the disappearance and reappearance of a post at her Scientific American blog. That situation was resolved to good effect and quickly; if you’d like to catch up on that, the posts are here and here.

As most in that professional community know, but other readers and members of other networks may not, Lee’s experience inadvertently triggered a cascade of revelations in which Bora Zivkovic, the blogs editor at SciAm and a very powerful and outspoken gatekeeper in science writing, was accused of sexual harassment by an aspiring writer. (Not Lee.) Over several days, additional accusations with and without names attached tumbled around the blogosphere and Twitterverse until, on Friday, one of his bloggers — the third woman to come forward by name — published a searing account of her experience which included quotes from sexually explicit emails he had written. Within hours, he resigned from his SciAm post. …

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via @TheTech

I got back to my room late, after a long dinner with a friend. I’d been teaching all week at the University of Wisconsin in Madison; I’d spoken to three classes and three groups in a 12-hour day, and I was wrung out and ready to sleep. But I picked up my phone first. As you do; as we all do, now.

I spotted tweets from my friends Tom Levenson, a writing professor at MIT, and Paige Williams, a writing instructor at Harvard. There was a shooting at an MIT building. There was a death.

Oh no, I thought. I knew exactly where that was. I worked in Boston for 5 years, had colleagues everywhere there, had gone to programs at MIT, had watched skeptically as the crazy, faceted Stata building went up. Now a photo from within the building showed a pool of blood at the base of it. My news sense — a thing that reporters develop over years, mock and deride, but rely on — tingled uncomfortably. This was not normal, for this corner of Cambridge. It might be random. But it might be connected to the marathon bombing. Suddenly I wasn't sleepy at all. …


Maryn McKenna

WIRED columnist, Schuster Institute senior fellow, TED speaker. Books: BIG CHICKEN, SUPERBUG, BEATING BACK THE DEVIL. Diseases, food, farms, drugs.

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