Science and medical writing


Entries here will be more helpful for "science writers" (which is what I would call those of us writing about science for the general reader) than for "scientific writers" (scientists writing for each other).
For more on technical writing, check out Corporate and technical communications.
For examples and explanations of better ways to tell a science story, check out Adding images, sound, story, humor, animation

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Organizations for Medical and Science Writers

Alliance for Health Reform provides excellent Web resources and will help you find experts to interview. See in particular Covering Health Issues: A Sourcebook for Journalists .
American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM), geared to academics, though physicians also get CME credits for attending annual conference. Offers a Supercourse (a global repository of lectures on public health and preventive health care, on epidemiology and global health. Supercourse described here.
••• American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) promotes excellence in medical communication through education, publications, and networking. Provides training and certificates and is working with several other organizations toward providing certification (a more expensive and elaborate ongoing process). Cynthia Haggard had a history of AMWA on her excellent Clarifying blog.
Asian Council of Science Editors (ACSE)
Associations of science journalists that belong to the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), including (among forty national, regional, or international organizations) the Arab Science Journalists Association (ASJA) and the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW)
Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE)
••• Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). Extremely helpful organization. listserv, and conference for health and medical writers, with excellent resources available only to members. These include Covering Medical Research, the 2010 slim guide for understanding and reporting on studies (by Gary Schwitzer with Ivan Oransky), for AHCJ and the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism; Covering Health in a Multicultural Society: A resource guide for journalists; Covering Hospitals: Using Tools on the Web; Covering Obesity: A Guide for Reporters ; Covering the Health of Local Nursing Homes ; Covering the Quality of Health Care: A Resource Guide for Journalists; Covering Medical Research: A Guide for Reporting on Studies; and Navigating the CDC: A Journalist’s Guide to the CDC Web Site . Plus issues of Health Beat, AHCJ's journal.

Association of Health Care Journalists Statement of Principless
Association of Independent Information Professionals (aiip, an industry association for owners of independent information businesses)
AuthorAID -- a global research community providing networking, mentoring, resources and training to help developing country researchers publish their work
••• Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS). See Becoming a board-certified editor.



Canadian Science Writers' Association (CSWA)
Council of Science Editors (CSE) (formerly the Council of Biology Editors, CBE). See CSE's Facebook page for style tips from CSE's manual, Scientific Style and Format
Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW)
DC Science Writers Association (DCSWA, pronounced DUCK-swah)
DC Science Cafe
DC Science Comedy
Drug Information Association (DIA)
The European Association of Science Editors (EASE)
European Medical Writers Association (EMWA)
Guild of Health Writers (UK)
Health and Science Communications Association (H&SCA)
International Science Writers Association (ISWA)
International Society for the History of Medicine (SIHM)
International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), pronounced IzMap (for stakeholders involved in the publication of medical research, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and device companies, medical publications and communications agencies, medical journal publishers and editors, and professional medical writers). Provides a formal, voluntary professional certification examination
International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE), training and networking for editorial office staff in academic, scientific, medical, technical and professional publishing
JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments, the first PubMed-indexed video methods journal in biology)
••• National Association of Science Writers (NSWA), a major national association. NASW discussion groups. The National Association of Science Writers maintains eight public email lists for the discussion of subjects of interest to science writers and two lists available only to members (including NASW Jobs). Topics for the public lists: science writing, freelancing, public relations, writing or marketing science books, teaching science writing, freedom of information issues, general discussion (NASW-chat).
National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME)
National Education Technology Writers Association (NETWA)

New England Science Writers (NESW)
Northern California Science Writers Association (NCSWA, pronounced NICK swa)
Northwest Science Writers Association (NSWA)
Nurse Author & Editor (newsletters may be helpful)
Organizations for technical writers (links to an international list of professional organizations, maintained by Peter Ring consultants, Denmark)
Penn State Association of Science Writers (a/​k/​a Penn State Science Writers Group)
Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) (making better healthcare products possible)
Science and Medicine SIG of the American Society of Indexers (ASI)
Science Writers in New York (SWINY)
••• Society for Technical Communication (STC), many local chapter
••• Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ)
Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science (SAHMS)
World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), for editors of peer-reviewed medical journals)
World Conference of Science Journalists (Helsinki, Finland, June 24-28, 2013). ‘Killer’ science journalists of the future ready to take over the world! (Bora Zivkovic, Scientific American blog, 9-23-12, reporting on the 2012 World Conference of Science Journalists)
••• World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), made up of forty member associations

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Seminars and workshops on science writing

Truth in Numbers (Cathy Shufro, Dartmouth Medicine.) A story about Medicine in the Media. During the nine years since it was initiated, 500 journalists have attended the course, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Medicine in the Media at Geisel, and the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Vermont. "We want doctors, the public, and policymakers to know what they can and cannot get from various medications, treatments, and interventions." Related reading: Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics, by by Steven Woloshin, Lisa M. Schwartz, and H. Gilbert Welch
Medicine in the Media Course (canceled in 2013 because of sequestration)
Archived events, Knight Digital Media Center (available to registered members only)
Narrative Medicine workshops provide narrative training with stories of illness to enable "practitioners to comprehend patients’ experiences and to understand what they themselves undergo as clinicians." (See separate entry for Narrative Medicine, for more information.)
Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop
Writing in the Sciences (Stanford Online) Courses by Platform (Stanford Openedx)
Related:
• Certification for medical writers. The Certified Medical Publication Professional (CMPP) exam is a three-hour, 150-item, multiple-choice computer-based examination, open to both members of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) members and nonmembers. Holding the certificate shows you have a thorough working knowledge of all aspects of medical publishing, including planning, execution, and professional ethics. One can also take the CMEP exam for CME, and AMWA plans to develop its own credentialing exam. On that subject, see:
Are We Certifiable? (AMWA Journal blog 9-12-11)
People Are Talking (AMWA Journal blog 9-27-11)
AMWA certificate programs
Google "science writing workshop" and you'll find some courses associated with colleges and universities. See also
Bars and Pies Make Better Desserts than Figures , a sample chapter from Clinical Chemistry Guide to Scientific Writing (Clinical Chemistry's series of educational articles on how to design and write scientific research papers for publication--free online). Articles included:
Part 1. The Title Says It All
Part 2. The Abstract and the Elevator Talk: A Tale of Two Summaries
Part 3. "It was a cold and rainy night": Set the Scene with a Good Introduction
Part 4. Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why: The Ingredients in the Recipe for a Successful Methods Section
Part 5. Show Your Cards: The Results Section and the Poker Game
Part 6. If an IRDAM Journal Is What You Choose, Then Sequential Results Are What You Use
Part 7. Put Your Best Figure Forward: Line Graphs and Scattergrams
Part 8. Bars and Pies Make Better Desserts than Figures
Part 9. Bring Your Best to the Table
Part 10. The Discussion Section: Your Closing Argument
Part 11. Giving Credit: Citations and References
Part 12. How to Write a Rave Review
Part 13. Top 10 Tips for Responding to Reviewer and Editor Comments
Part 14. Passing the Paternité Test
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Degree programs in science writing

Boston University, Science Journalism. Here is their FAQs page.
MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing (a one-year Master's degree program). Here's Scope (the program's student publication)
NYU Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) (New York University, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute) Who We Are: Storytellers with a Passion for Science. What We Do: A Customized Curriculum, a Hands-On Approach. Where We Work: NYC, the World Capital of Science Journalism.
University of California at Santa Cruz (Science Communication Program)
Program on Hiatus (Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, 5-3-13). "The Hopkins science writing program was always an odd fit for the institution, Finkbeiner said -- not that it contradicted the research university’s mission, but because it was housed alongside a master of fine arts program in fiction and poetry in the writing seminars department. It also relied wholly on part-time employees and adjunct instructors....Programs that exist independently seem to be faring worse than those that can draw on the resources of a full-fledged journalism school."
Johns Hopkins Graduate Science Writing Program to Close (Michael Price, Science, 5-1-13)
Columbia Suspends Environmental Journalism Program (Curtis Brainard, CJR, 10-19-09). Falling employment, rising education costs to blame. "Although our graduates have done well in their careers, even those still employed are finding few opportunities to do the kind of substantive reporting for which the dual degree program has trained them, as they scramble to do their own work plus that of laid-off colleagues. "
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Online writing workshops, courses


Analytical writing for science & technology (T.M.Georges' online course, recommended by Sarah Wernick)
Chest's Medical Writing Tip of the Month (your own personal online medical writing course). Chest Online--and it's free! PDF files of such articles as Reporting a Systematic Review; Hypothesis Testing, Study Power, and Sample Size; Comments on Writing Letters to the Editor: Moving From Duels and Fencing to Belles Lettres; Translating Patient Education Materials; Reporting "Basic Results" in ClinicalTrials.gov; Backing Up Your Statements: How To Perform Literature Searches To Prove Your Points; When a Picture Needs 1,000 Words; Abstracts for Professional Meetings: Small But Mighty; On the Table: Form and Function. Genuinely informative series.
• ****Clinical Chemistry Guide to Scientific Writing (free, online--full text, from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
Online course offerings, Medical editing (University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and
Professional studies)
Online Course in Science Journalism (WFSJ and SciDev.Net), created by the World Federation of Science Journalists in close cooperation with the Science and Development Network, for use by professional journalists, journalism students and teachers. The first eight lessons (free for use by anyone in the world):
1) Planning and structuring your work (Jan Lublinkski)
2) Finding and judging science stories (Julie Clayton)
3) The interview (Christina Scott)
4) Writing skills (Nadia El-Awady)
5) What is science? (Gervais Mbarga and Jean-Marc Fleury)
6) Reporting on controversies (KS Jayaraman)
7) Reporting on science policy (Hepeng Jia and Richard Stone)
8) How to shoot science (Šárka Speváková and Carolyn Robinson).
For each course there is an e-lecture, self-teaching questions, assignments, and PDF versions. Read the User's Guide to the Online Course in Science Journalism . The course is available in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Turkish.
Freelance Medical Writing.: Make a 6-Figure Income and Work at Home Using Your Scientific/​Medical Background (Books 1-6 from Emma Hitt Nichols' online course). Available as one book or several:
1–Medical Writing Prerequisite Skills and First Steps
2–Setting up Shop
3–Writing the Medical News
4–Writing Continuing Medical Education
5–Feature Article Writing for Science Journals, Magazines, and Trade Mags
6–Running Your Freelance Medical Writing Business
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Evidence-based medicine

The Cochran Collaboration (evidence-based healthcare databases). See The Cochrane Collaboration might be “Medicine’s Best Kept Secret” (but it shouldn’t be for journalists) (HealthNewsReview). There is no better “context” for health care evidence than the body of 5,000 reviews in the Cochrane Library. The abstracts and plain language summaries of all Cochrane reviews are on their website. The in-depth reviews are made available free to journalists who belong to the Association of Healthcare Journalists and are also available at most university libraries.
Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
Cochran Summaries (information to help you make choices about health care)
Evidence-based health care and systematic reviews (The Cochrane Collaboration). "Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health."
The Campbell Collaboration
NREPP (SAMHSA'S national registry of evidence-based programs and practices)
The Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre) (University of London)
NIH Clinical Research Trials and You (National Institutes of Health, aka NIH)
Core Topic: Medical Studies (Association of Health Care Journalists) Guides for journalists on reporting, interpreting graphs, the peer review process, understanding bias and statistics, and media coverage.
Glossary of common terms (NIH)
Numbers and statistics glossary (Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice)
STAT (reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine)
HealthNewsReview (grades health stories for quality of reporting and accuracy)
Retraction Watch (Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process--reports on clinical studies retracted for plagiarism, fraud, and other reasons)
ResearchImpact (turning research into action -- good research summaries on many topics)
Bad Science (Ben Goldacre on how to spot good and bad science) Goldacre also provides a do-it-yourself way to learn about randomization and randomized trials at Randomise Me
Epidemiology 101, Julie Buring's talk, video, in three parts, from Day 1 of Knight Science Journalism's popular Medical Evidence Boot Camp.
PubMed (26 million citations for biomedical literature from MedLine, life science journals, online books)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
MedLinePlus (trusted health information, U.S. National Library of Medicine)
Sense About Science (charitable trust in UK, promoting good science and evidence for the public, partly by responding to misrepresentations about science)
Medicaid Evidence Based Decisions Project (MED) (a self governing collaboration of state Medicaid agencies and their partners--its mission: to provide policymakers with the tools and resources they need to make evidence-based decisions. (Includes links to reports.)
Centre for Evidence-Based medicine, provides education and training, and through its blog, articles and opinions for the public. See for example The Double-Edged Sword of the Evidence-Based Medicine Renaissance
What is good evidence (Centre for Evidence Based Intervention (CEBI), includes links to "High-quality systematic and other research reviews" and answers questions: What is good evidence? How to use evidence, links to good evidence, links to tools for understanding evidence, research designs, and glossary.
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (NCBI)
Webliography of resources for evidence-based health care (Cochran Collaboration links to books, articles, and online resources (sorted by specialty); databases offering online access to medical evidence; journals (etc.); medical news reviews (assessing the accuracy and quality of news reporting); patient resources; tutorials and tools; and social media resources.
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"Statistics are like swimwear -- what they reveal is suggestive but what they conceal is vital." ~-Ashish Mahajan, Lancet 2007

How not to misread or misreport research reports

Journalists should understand the "Hierarchy of Evidence Pyramid" and know when not to generalize from items low on the pyramid (picture these forming a pyramid):

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Randomized controlled double-blind studies
Cohort studies
Case control studies
Case series
Case reports
Animal research
In vitro (test tube) research
Ideas, editorials, opinions

That's on page 10 of Covering Medical Research: A Guide for Reporting on Studies (PDF, Association of Health Care Journalists, 2009).

Association vs Causation: Observational Studies -- Does the language fit the evidence? (Mark Zweig and Emily DeVoto, HealthNewsReview)

Observational Studies – Does The Language Fit The Evidence? – Association Versus Causation (Mark Zweig and Emily DeVoto, Health News Review) "Because observational studies are not randomized, they cannot control for all of the other inevitable, often unmeasurable, exposures or factors that may actually be causing the results. Thus, any link between cause and effect in observational studies is speculative at best....A subtle trap occurs in the transition from the cautious, nondirectional, noncausal, passive language that scientists use in reporting the results of observational studies to the active language favored in mass media." "An important part of reporting results of research in health news lies in attention to language that may in subtle ways imply cause-and-effect relationships, where the underlying study design does not warrant such language. We urge health care journalists to be mindful of when causal language is warranted by the study design and when it is not." A must-read for journalists.

A primer on composite outcomes (Kevin Lomangino, HealthNewsReview) Distinguish between clinically significant end points and secondary end points. "It’’s increasingly clear that surrogate endpoints don’’t tell the entire story when it comes to a treatment’’s effectiveness....we learned that a drug which raises “good” cholesterol (a surrogate for cardiovascular disease risk) had no effect on the incidence of heart attacks and strokes."

Retraction Watch offers some transparency about transparency (AHCJ) In the years since its inception, Retraction Watch has documented hundreds of troubled scientific papers that were eventually retracted, as well as other related controversies. Founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus have learned a lot in that time about following up on retractions, errors or other problematic aspects of scientific research. The authors mention:
---The Office of Research Integrity (ORI), U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services. Contact them if you suspect science fraud or scientific misconduct "(or go directly to the universities and oversight organizations who would do the investigating. Give 'research integrity officers, or the equivalent, at the institutions where the authors in question work; the head start instead of the authors suspected of misconduct."
---PubPeer. When a paper smells a little off, check PubPeer "where commenters can anonymously post about a published work. This could be particularly helpful for a reporter covering a study that isn’t embargoed. It only takes a moment to stop at PubPeer and do a quick search to see what’s been said about a paper you’re writing about or using in research."

Research integrity: Don't let transparency damage science (Stephan Lewandowsky & Dorothy Bishop, Nature, 1-25-16)
"Many measures that can improve science2 — shared data, post-publication peer review and public engagement on social media — can be turned against scientists....Orchestrated and well-funded harassment campaigns against researchers working in climate change and tobacco control are well documented, Some hard-line opponents to other research, such as that on nuclear fallout, vaccination, chronic fatigue syndrome or genetically modified organisms, although less resourced, have employed identical strategies." How to distinguish scrutiny from harassment.



Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show (Eric Lipton, NY Times, 9-5-15)
Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets (Anahad O'Connor, Fitness blog, NY Times, 8-9-15)
64 more papers retracted for fake reviews, this time from Springer journals (Retraction Watch). One of many, which you can find on the Retraction Watch site.


Tips for Understanding Animal and Lab Studies (HealthNewsReview)

“Thousands of lives lost”? Why calls for faster drug approvals need more scrutiny (HealthNewsReview)

Randomized trials are no panacea for what ails nutrition research (Reijo Laatikainen, HealthNewsReview, 8-26-15). Randomized controlled trials are the "gold standard" for evidence, but researchers face pressure to design their studies in a way that increases the likelihood of observing a positive result. ("Studies with positive results are more likely to get published in authoritative journals. And publication in authoritative journals leads to funding, prestige, and career advancement for researchers.") Adherence to the trial by participants is far from complete. And when participants can guess which part of the trial they are in, there may be a placebo effect for what they consume. And those are just some of the problems.

You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition (Christie Aschwanden, FiveThirtyEight Science, 1-6-16) "...short of locking people in a room and carefully measuring out all their meals, it’s hard to know exactly what people eat. So nearly all nutrition studies rely on measures of food consumption that require people to remember and report what they ate. The most common of these are food diaries, recall surveys and the food frequency questionnaire, or FFQ." But recalling what you ate is difficult, perceptions of serving size differ, people underreport foods deemed unhealthy, reporting what you eat changes how you eat while reporting it, etc. "observational studies using memory-based measures of dietary intake are" too crude as tools with which to generalize what's good or bad for you.

How the sausage inside a nutrition study is made (Kevin Lomangino, HealthNewsReview, 1-6-16) Christie Aschwanden's piece (above) makes points HNR often makes: 1. Questionnaire-based nutrition data are inaccurate. 2. “Positive” results are often false-positives. 3. Correlation doesn’t equal causation. 4. Benefits are overstated through reporting of relative risks.
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Against Stigma: Writing Responsibly About Mental Illness (Emily DePrang, Reporting on Health blog, 4-2-14). Write about mental illness more regularly and outside of a criminal context. There are plenty of fascinating stories.

All about Stories: How to Tell Them, How They’re Changing, and What They Have to Do with Science (Lena Groeger, Scientific American, 6-6-11, reporting on the World Science Festival)

Author list on a scientific paper (Jorge Cham comic, PhD Comics)

Award-winning articles on health and medicine (Association of Health Care Journalists)

Four steps for effective science communication (Baruch Fischhoff, Sci Dev Net) "The first step is to identify the uncertainties and questions that matter to the audience." "Scientists should adopt a systematic approach to explaining what they do, and do not, know."

HealthNewsReview.org rates health and medical news stories (about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures) for accuracy, balance, and completeness -- helping consumers critically analyze claims about health care interventions
HNR's important review criteria, explained (for example, Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention? Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/​test/​product/​procedure? Does the story adequately explain/​quantify the harms of the intervention? Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence? Does the story commit disease-mongering? etc. (10 criteria explained).
Tips for understanding studies
Story Reviews - Systematic, Criteria-Driven
Industry-Independent Experts Journalists Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer's list of more than 100 independent health care experts (meaning they do not have financial ties to drug or medical device manufacturers) to whom reporters can turn
Covering Medical Research (by HealthNewsReview.org publisher Gary Schwitzer; published by the Association of Health Care Journalists)
Links to other resources
Health News Watchdog blog (publisher's perspective, opinion--different from the systematic story reviews).
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How Two Studies on Cancer Screening Led to Two Results (H. Gilbert Welch, Steven Woloshin, and Lisa M. Schwartz, NY Times, 3-13-07). A crystal-clear explanation of how two studies — in the country’s two most prestigious medical journals — arrive at diametrically opposite conclusions. A screening that increases survival rates does not necessarily reduce mortality -- it could have started measuring at an early age. And because all lung cancer patients get treated, overdiagnosis means some people receive treatment that can’t help them (because they do not need it) and can only cause harm. Dr. Welch is the author of Should I Be Tested for Cancer?: Maybe Not and Here's Why. As one reader writes, "Even when a treatment can cut the deaths from a particular cancer in half, most current treatments create non-cancer deaths, many of which will be improperly reported."

Priggish NEJM Editorial on Data-sharing Misses the Point it Almost Made (Vasudevan Mukunth, The Wire, 1-24-16)

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Covering health reform, Medicare,
Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)


Covering Health Issues (6th edition, 2011 update, free PDF download). This 200-page book presents concise information on health policy issues, lists expert sources from across the political spectrum, and includes an extensive glossary, ideas and examples for TV and radio reporters, and links to polls on health issues. Chapter contents: Health reform, cost of health care, quality of care, employer-sponsored health coverage, children's health coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care, disparities, mental health and substance abuse, public health, polls on health care issues, covering health issues for TV and radio, acronyms and glossary). Julie Rovner demonstrates how to use it (YouTube video). Reporters may find pages of links to organizations and experts particularly helpful. (7th edition available November 2013)
Following criticism, PLOS removes blog defending scrutiny of science (Retraction Watch, Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process) Community blog PLOS Biologue has pulled a post by journalists Charles Seife and Paul Thacker that argued in favor of public scrutiny of scientists’ behavior (including emails), following heavy criticism, including from a group and scientist mentioned in the post.
For successful information requests, be familiar with guidelines for HHS public affairs staff (Irene M. Wielawski, Covering Health, AHCJ, 7-27-15)
CMS Special Open Door Forums
The Dueling Data on Campus Rape (Dana Goldstein, Justice Lab, The Marshall Project, 12-11-14) Some of the research issues that account for divergent statistics.
What a New Survey Can — and Can’t — Tell Us About Campus Sexual Assault (Jesse Singal, Science of Us, New York Magazine, 5-20-15) As Dana Goldstein explained, above, "two different approaches to estimating the rate of rape on campus, both conducted by professionally trained researchers, led to results — 0.6 percent versus the famous “one in five” figure often cited in these discussions — separated by a chasm."
Find low-cost Medicare plans, by state (eHealth)
Health care reform, medical error, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) , links to many helpful articles about Obamacare
Medicaid and State Children''s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, Kaiser's useful website)
State Health Facts, in several categories, by state (Kaiser Family Foundation--including information about Medicaid and CHIP)
Medicaid Fact Sheets (by state, American Academy of Pediatrics)
How one reporting team used public records to find questionable Medicare Advantage spending (Fred Schulte, Association of Health Care Journalists, AHCJ, 7-21-14). There's "there’s a lot federal officials don’t want the public to see when it comes to Medicare Advantage, a type of Medicare plan administered by private insurance companies." Schulte lists sources used in learning the flaw in Medicare's system of paying more for high-risk patients than for low-risk patients: health plans overstate how sick patients are to collect more money. See also Cracking the Codes:How doctors and hospitals have collected billions in questionable Medicare fees (Schulte and David Donald, Center for Public Integrity 9-15-12) on "how some medical professionals have billed at sharply higher rates than their peers and collected billions of dollars of questionable fees as a result."
Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform (Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 9-15-08)
Health Policy essentials (essential information about Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance & the uninsured, CHIP, the Safety Net, pharmaceuticals, public health, aging & long-term care, and workforce issues, in a variety of formats, from the National Health Policy Forum)
Patient Advocacy in Patient Safety: Have Things Changed? (Helen Haskell, Perspective, June 2014, AHRQ, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). An important historical overview of patient safety efforts.
Health Policy Reform: Beyond the 2008 Elections (The Commonwealth Fund), appeared originally in the Columbia Journalism Review
New Analysis of Health Insurance Premium Trends in the Individual Market Finds Average Yearly Increases of 10 Percent or More Prior to the Affordable Care Act (The Commonwealth Fund, June 5, 2014) New Data Set Standard for Comparing This Year's Premiums in State and Federal Health Insurance Marketplaces
The Employer Mandate: Essential or Dispensable? (David Blumenthal, M.D. and David Squires, Commonwealth Fund blog, 6-4-14)
Residents in the ACA's Nonparticipating States Still Benefiting (David Blumenthal, M.D. and David Squires, Commonwealth Fund blog, 5-28-14)
Growth and Variability in Health Plan Premiums in the Individual Insurance Market Before the Affordable Care Act
The Federal Medical Loss Ratio Rule: Implications for Consumers in Year 2 (Commonwealth Fund)
Despite ‘essential’ designation, dental benefits lacking under ACA (Mary Otto, AHCJ, Covering Health, 4-30-14)
What early numbers tell us about kids’ dental coverage under ACA (Mary Otto, AHCJ, Covering Health, 4-16-14)
A closer look: Did the ACA result in more canceled plans? (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 4-29-14)
Questions remain despite latest ACA enrollment numbers, projections (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 2-20-14)
Looking ahead to new ACA enrollment numbers (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 5-1-14)
Texas poses challenges for insurance enrollment under ACA (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 7-26-13)
Tips from Texas for covering Medicaid fraud, overtreatment (Mary Otto, AHCJ, Covering Health, 6-5-14)
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Medical conferences journalists might want to cover:
How to Find Medical Conferences (Bob Finn's links). Finn shows high ratings for three of the listings he links to:
Doctor's Guide
Doctor's Review
Clocate (Conferencelocate.com)
Excellent but Little-Known Medical Conferences (also Bob Finn, on his Medical Conference Blog, an opinionated, occasionally cranky, occasionally snarky blog on medical meetings from the viewpoint of a medical journalist)
Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare conference listings
Tips for covering scientific conferences (Mark Taylor, Association of Health Care Journalists). For members only.
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HealthNewsReview.org rates health and medical news stories (about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures) for accuracy, balance, and completeness -- helping consumers critically analyze claims about health care interventions
HNR's important review criteria, explained (for example, Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention? Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/​test/​product/​procedure? Does the story adequately explain/​quantify the harms of the intervention? Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence? Does the story commit disease-mongering? etc. (10 criteria explained).
Tips for understanding studies
Story Reviews - Systematic, Criteria-Driven
Industry-Independent Experts Journalists Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer's list of more than 100 independent health care experts (meaning they do not have financial ties to drug or medical device manufacturers) to whom reporters can turn
Covering Medical Research (by HealthNewsReview.org publisher Gary Schwitzer; published by the Association of Health Care Journalists)
Links to other resources
Health News Watchdog blog (publisher's perspective, opinion--different from the systematic story reviews).
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Blogs, news, Twitter feeds for medical and science writers

Aetiology (Sb, Scienceblogs) discussing causes, origins, evolution and implications of disease and other phenomenon)
AGU blogs (American Geophysical Union's excellent community of earth and space science blogs)
AMA Style Insider
Autism News Beat (an evidence-based resource for journalists)
Best 50 Medical Technology Blogs (Forensic Science)
Better Health
Black Triangle , Posts for which are still there, but it has morphed to Anthony Cox (pharmacist academic)
A Blog Around the Clock (Scientific American)
Celebrity Diagnosis
The Chart (Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN)
Citizens for Patient Safety
Covering Health (Association of Health Care Journalists, with excellent links to health beats in newspapers, blogs, etc.)
CJR's The Observatory (a lens on the science press)
CMS.gov: Special Open Door Forums to independently discuss new and important program topics
Correcting the AIDS Lies (AIDS dissent is largely based on misinformation and misunderstanding--collating all relevant facts so that no one need die of ignorance)
Cracking Health Costs
David Antrobus, whose tweet of a funny cartoon led me to this "FindaProofreader.com entry, which would certainly lead me to hire him)
DC's Improbable Science (truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science)
Denialism blog (Mark Hoofnagle, Science Blogs). Don't mistake denialism for debate.
The Doctor Blog (ZocDoc)
Dr. Len's Cancer Blog
DoubleXScience, bringing science to the woman in you, whoever she is, whatever she does. Sections: biology, book reviews, chemistry, health, mental illness, notable women, pregnancy, physics, pregnancy 101, science education, everything else. Sample: The Girls of Atomic City (book review by Chris Gunter) The unbelievable true story of young women during World War II who worked in a secret city dedicated to making fuel for the first atomic bomb—only they didn’t know that.
Embargo Watch (Ivan Oransky, keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage)
Engaging the Patient
First Opinion (STAT) Perspective and commentary from experts around the world
Forensic Science Technician blog
Freelance Medical Writing
Gastropod (looks at food through the lens of science and history)
Health (The Atlantic blogs on body, family, food, mind, public, sex)
Health Beat (Maggie Mahar) Health articles, nutritional facts, and fitness tips
Healthcare Savvy (WBUR)
HealthNewsReview (excellent watchdog blog, offering perspective and opinion, by Gary Schwitzer and others). See also HealthNewsReview.org's Story Reviews (systematic, criteria-driven critiques of news stories and other media messages that may affect the public dialogue about health care).
Grand Rounds, a weekly summary of the best health blog posts on the Internet, available at Better Health and at Blogborygmi.com
Health (The Atlantic magazine)
Health (STAT) The latest developments affecting patients and practitioners
The Health Care Blog
Health Care Renewal Addressing threats to health care's core values, especially those stemming from concentration and abuse of power. Advocating for accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty and ethics in leadership and governance of health care.
Health News Blogs (Association of Health Care Journalists blogroll)
Health News Watchdog
Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement
In the Lab (STAT) Putting the latest scientific research under the microscope
In the Pipeline
JAMA Forum news
Kaiser Health News (KHN, an editorially independent news organization dedicated to providing excellent, high-quality coverage of health care policy and politics)
Karmanos Conquers Cancer
KevinMD (physicians' voices)
Undark . Truth. Beauty. Science.
Living with Cancer (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Liz Szabo's Twitter feed is great for following health and medical news and stories
MedCityNews (business of innovation in healthcare)
medGadget (emerging medical technologies)
Medical Lessons
A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine, Health Care, and the Writing Life (Debra Gordon)
Medical Writing Industry (blog for medical writers and editors in the pharmaceutical industry)
Medical Writing, Editing and Grantsmanship
Medicine Matters (Vancouver Sun, BC)
Medscape blogs
Med Student's t-Test (a medical/​graduate student's musings on medicine and science, with occasional rants about quackery)
Money (STAT) The business behind science, medicine, and the drug industry
Musings of a Distractible Mind (Dr. Rob Lambert)
National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
Nature.com blogs
Neurologica your daily fix of neuroscience, skepticism, and analytical thinking)
The New York Times Health News
Notes from Dr. RW (hospital resources and more)
Not Running a Hospital (former hospital CEO Paul Levy) Excellent blogroll in several categories.
Only Human (Virginia Hughes, National Geographic)
••••The Open Notebook (the story behind the best science stories). Great material. See for example behind-the-story interviews , elements of craft, natural habitat (where science writers share their working spaces -- offices, spare bedrooms, coffee shops, hammocks -- and the accoutrements that help them do their work), and other resources.
Patient POV (Laura Newman)
Pharmalot (STAT blog) Ed Silverman, Taking stock of the drug industry, from the lab to the medicine chest
Pharmed Out (Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman), an independent, publicly funded project that empowers physicians to identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices.
Phenomena (a science salon hosted by National Geographic)
Politics (STAT) Tracking how politics and policy intersect with science and health care
PLoS blogs (Public Library of Science)
Prepared Patient (Center for Advancing Health) designed to help people find good care and make the most of it, based on experts' findings, recent scientific findings, and patients' experiences. (No advertising or corporate sponsorship.)
The ProPublica Nerd Blog, a place to talk about what programmer-journalists at ProPublica are working on, announce newly-launched news applications, and to hear from technically-minded readers, as well as our fellow nerdy journalists. A sample project: Treatment Tracker: The Doctors and Services in Medicare Part B
Pulse (voices from the heart of medicine -- personal accounts of illness and healing)
TedMed
The Quackometer (debunking quack medicine)
TEDMEG blog and TEDMED Talks (video)
The reluctant geoengineer (Matt Watson, who came to my attention through NPR story Turning to Scientists to Engineer a Cooler Climate (All Things Considered 10-20-13).
Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. "Orac knows, ScienceBlogs). Against quackery etc.
Reporting on Health blogs (California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, about blogging, health journalism, and storytelling)
--William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories
--The Reporting on Health Daily Briefing
-- Doc Gurley's Urban Health Beat (practicing medicine on the margins of society, and what we can learn from it)
Retraction Watch (tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process)
Research Blogging (reports on peer-reviewed research)
Retraction Watch , founded and run by Ivan Oransky, the executive editor at Reuters Health, and Adam Marcus, the managing editor of Anesthesiology News, on which they track the retraction of scientific papers (to help make public research fraud, made-up data, and erroneous or false research)
Robert Wood Johnson blogs
Rubor, Dolor, Calor, Tumor (Mark Crislip practices in infectious diseases)
Science-Based Medicine (blog exploring issues and controversies in science and medicine, including dubious medical, nutritional, and related approaches to medical diagnosis, treatment, etc.). Along the same lines see excellent page of links to medical blogs, medical sites, recommended sites, and skeptical and science blogs
Science-based pharmacy (turning an eye on the profession, separating fact from fiction on both sides of the counter)
Science Blogs (The Guardian)
Science Blogs
Science blogs (Wired)
Scientific American blogs
Shrink Talk
Singularity Hub
Terra Sigillata (about medicinal agents, not all of which are drugs)
Science careers blog (Science, various contributors)
Science Daily
Science Online (Conversation, Community, & Connections at the Intersection of Science & the Web)
Science Roll (Dr Bertalan Meskó's journey in Genetics PHD and medicine through Web 2.0--medical education, medical technology, e-learning and virtual medicine)
Scientific American blogs (by latest blog posts) and Scientific American blog network (with links to blogs in categories: MIND blogs, From Our Network. For example: Anthropology in Practice, The Artful Amoeba , History of Geology, and The Primate Diaries
Scholarly Open Access (Jeffrey Beall, Critical analysis of scholarly open access). Noted for Beall's List of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers. Read Declan Butler's article in Nature: Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing (3-27-13) "The explosion in open-access publishing has fuelled the rise of questionable operators."
Science Seeker (science news from science newsmakers)
Secrets of Good Science Writing (excellent Guardian blog, in honor of the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize , sponsored by the Guardian and the Observer).
Shrink Rap (for psychiatrists by psychiatrists) and now a book: Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work by Dinah Miller, Annette Hanson, and Steven Roy Daviss. Listen to them interviewed on Talk of the Nation (NPR)
Skeptical Scalpel
Speaking of Medicine (PLOS Medical Journals' community blog)
STAT Reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine
TED Blog
This May Hurt a Bit (Shara Yurkiewicz, Scientific American, The intuitions, insights, and growing pains of a medical student)
Top 50 Public Health Blogs (The Science of Health blog, 1-13-10)
Top 25 Forensic Science Blogs of 2012 (editors, Top Criminal Justice Degrees blog, 1-31-13)
Tracker (or Tracker 2.0, a Knight Science Journalism Program), turning "a discerning eye on science journalism — the good, the bad, and the occasionally mystifying — with the hope that our analyses will help to keep science writing vibrant, alive, and free from temptation."
Undark . Truth. Beauty. Science. MIT's Knight Science Journalism''s online magazine, called Undark "as a signal to readers that our magazine will explore science not just as a “gee-whiz” phenomenon, but as a frequently wondrous, sometimes contentious, and occasionally troubling byproduct of human culture."

The Vaccine Times
Vital Signs (Salon.com blog in defense of science-based health care)
Well (NY Times blog)
White Coat Underground (doctoring in real life)
Women and Science Blogging (Daniel Lende, Neuranthropology, PLoS blog, 1-27-11) Which refers us to Even when we want something, we need to hide it (Kate Clancy, Context and Variation) and I’ve never been very good at hiding (Christie Wilcox, Observations of a Nerd).
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Problems covering government agencies


Today’s federal agencies are ‘highly message-controlled.’ Here’s what that means for health reporting (Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review, 11-10-15)
Talk to the Hand (Jenni Bergal, Nieman Reports, Spring 2014) Public health reporters say federal agencies are restricting access and information, limiting their ability to cover crucial health issues
For successful information requests, be familiar with guidelines for public affairs staff of the Department of Health and Human Services (Irene M. Wielawski, Covering Health, 7-27-15). See earlier piece: HHS releases guidelines for handling media requests (Pia Christensen, Covering Health, 9-22-11)
A Game of Chicken: Inside Salmonella (Lynne Terry, Watchdog, The Oregonian, 5-1-15)
FDA Whistleblower Report (FDAWebView). "This page is reserved for individual FDA employees who wish to report management abuse in the interest of government integrity and public health. Information entered here will be inaccessible to all persons other than the Editor of Dickinson's FDA Webview. Any information that might identify you will be deleted before any use is made of this information.
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Embargoes


Embargo on press releases, rationale for (PLoS). Breaking an embargo is a journalistic no-no, with good reason.
Embargo Watch (Ivan Oransky, keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage)
Embargoes and more: How to get my attention (and attention from other journalists) in a wired world (Ivan Oransky's tips at a Council of Science Editors meeting, 2011), which leads to Oransky's interesting explanation and criticism of the Ingelfinger Rule ("the policy by which journals refuse to publish anything that’s appeared in the mainstream press or in other journals" though they still publish authors who self-plagiarize).
The worst abuse of an embargo this medical journalist has ever seen (Larry Husten, KevinMD, 9-12-11)
Embargoes Master List (Robin Lloyd, Third Turn)
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Medical ghostwriting (aka collaboration)

Medical writers who collaborate with scientists are often viewed as ghostwriters. Discussions of the ethics and practical realities of medical writing include the following:
The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT” (Adriane J. Fugh-Berman, PLoS Med 7(9): e1000335, 9-7-10). Read the response by Adam Jacobs of the European Medical Writers Association.
What Should Be Done To Tackle Ghostwriting in the Medical Literature? (Peter C Gøtzsche, Jerome P Kassirer, Karen L Woolley, Elizabeth Wager, Adam Jacobs, Art Gertel, Cindy Hamilton, in PLoS, 2-3-09
Ghost Management: How Much of the Medical Literature Is Shaped Behind the Scenes by the Pharmaceutical Industry? (Sergio Sismondo, PLoS Med 4(9): e286, 9-25-07)
Revealed: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals (Antony Barnett, The Observer, 12-7-03). Pharmaceutical giants hire ghostwriters to produce articles - then put doctors' names on them
Evidence in Vioxx Suits Shows Intervention by Merck Officials (Alex Berenson, NY Times, 4-24-05)
Good Publication Practice for Pharmaceutical Companies Guidelines (Envision Pharma, 2006)
See much fuller set of links to articles on medical ghostwriting, in a section on Collaboration and ghostwriting
See also, under Ethics: Medical ghostwriting and ethical issues in medical publishing (another full set of links--clearly a rich subject) .
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Narrative structure in science and medical writing


Story Time (Rose Jacobs, Chronicle of Higher Education blog, 6-6-14). The traditional "nut graf" structure didn't help her engineering student write coherently, so 'I’ve been doing with my student what I did with those journalists: Demanding a narrative structure—stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end; stories with five Shakespearean acts; stories whose main points are made two-thirds of the way through—not in the first three paragraphs. Stories, in other words, with a structure we learn in childhood and that remains familiar throughout our lives....Research papers tell great stories—movements from what we used to know to what we know now and, in the middle, how we learned it. They’re plays in three acts where the subject is discovery."
Telling science stories…wait, what’s a “story”? (Bora Zivkovic, A Blog Around the Clock, 7-13-11). " In the Inverted Pyramid approach to journalism, the first couple of sentences (the “lede”) provide the next most important information, and so on, with the least important stuff at the end. In many ways, it is the opposite of a narrative – the punch-line goes first, the build-up after. The beauty of the Inverted Pyramid for the writers and editors is that any article can be chopped up and made shorter....You can’t do that with a narrative, where clues can be hidden all along the way, and the grand solution comes close to the end."
Explaining Science (Gerard Piel, reported by Norman Bauman on his website -- December 2001.) Do a search and find this piece way down on the web page. "The narrative is the way to do exposition," said Piel. "That's the most painless way to explain." And Scientific American, of which he was the retired publisher, was "in the business of understanding, not information."
Natural Narratives by Michael Pollan (Nieman Storyboard 2-16-07: Seven principles for writing about nature and science in ways that depart from the usual)
Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy ed. by Fitzhugh Mullan, Ellen Ficken, and Kyna Rubin (a collection of personal stories of patients, physicians, policy makers, and others whose writings humanize health policy issues, drawn from the popular "Narrative Matters" column in the journal Health Affairs.
Science & Story: The Art of Communicating Science Across All Media . at the World Science Festival in New York City, there was an entire day devoted to science story-telling, Presented in collaboration with the Paley Center for Media. Much material here and on the World Science Festival blog . See also some webcasts.
Penny Bailey on science writing: 'You need to know how to tell a good story'
The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains (Leo Widrich, Lifehacker, 12-5-12)
Narrative Medicine. Narrative Medicine workshops provide narrative training with stories of illness to enable "practitioners to comprehend patients’ experiences and to understand what they themselves undergo as clinicians." Here is a pageful of links to podcasts of Narrative Medicine Rounds, lectures or readings presented by scholars, clinicians, or writers engaged in work at the interface between narrative and health care. Rounds are held on the first Wednesday of each month from 5 to 6:30 pm in the Columbia University Medical Center Faculty Club, followed by a reception. Rounds are free and open to the public. Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner of Oral History Productions took and recommends an excellent intensive four-day workshop on Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. And here are some books on the subject: Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness by Rita Charon; Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process by Lewis Mehl-Medrona author of Coyote Wisdom: Healing Power in Native American Stories ; Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine, ed. Peter L. Rudnytsky and Rita Charon.
Narrative medicine and medical narrative (blogs, books, and other wonderful material on the subject--Pat McNees's links)
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Miscellaneous resources for science and medical writesrs

Everything that didn't fit into specific categories above.

Advice for Science Writers from Science Writers, Maryn McKenna's column about (and highlights from) a long blog Ed Yong opened up to the science-writing community: On the Origin of Science Writers. On Yong's blog you can read 146 personal accounts of how people got into science writing, with advice to those just starting in the field. Also on Yong's Discover blog Not Exactly Rocket Science, check out his amusing analysis of the science writing process.

AHCJ links to resources for health care journalists (Association of Health Care Journalists)

Alternative Income Sources for Writers, Norman Bauman's summary of an ASJA meeting on the subject in 2002, may be helpful, and be sure to see the material he added to his website: Catherine E. Oliver's on what's required for technical writing. Norman's other reports include How to find and price medical writing jobs (1999). For more such summaries, including an interesting piece on text retrieval and search engines, go to Bauman's website, Medical Writing in New York. See, for example, this thoughtful long piece on redesigning science magazines.


Are you an editor or a writer? How do you know? What are the crucial differences between the two specializations? The question arose when Slate science editor Laura Helmuth was visiting a class that Ann Finkbeiner teaches at the graduate program in science writing at Johns Hopkins University. Ann, hoping to help her students figure out whether they were natively editors or natively writers, asked Laura about the difference between writers and editors. Together they asked several science writers. editors, and writer-editors to describe the differences.
Are you an editor or a writer? Part I: The writers. (posted by Christie Aschwanden, The Open Notebook, 1-16-13).
Are you an editor or a writer? Part II: The editors. (posted by Christie Aschwanden, The Open Notebook, 1-16-13).

Calendars
Scientific events calendars from around the world (Of schemes and memes blog, Nature, 10-18-11)
NY Sci


CDC Learning Network helps you locate learning products and resources from across the public health community.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Clinical trials. Trial and Error (Naomi Elster, Variables/​Essays and Opinions, Undark, 4-25-16). Should clinical trials be better regulated? Definitely. Should they be regulated out of existence? Definitely not.

The Cochrane Collaboration , an international organization that helps people make well-informed decisions about healthcare and health policy by preparing and maintaining high quality systematic reviews

CONSORT statement. Guidelines in the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement are used worldwide to improve the transparent reporting of randomized, controlled trials.

Convert Me (various online conversion charts)

Cool/​nifty versus funny-smelling/​fishy stories: Why we need both kinds (David Dobbs, Neuron Culture, Wired, 3-16-10)

Coping with cancer and critical illness

Coping with chronic, rare, and invisible diseases, disorders, and disabilities

Core Topics in Health Journalism (Association of Health Care Journalists, AHCJ). Invaluable sections for journalists writing about medicine and health care
Health Reform
Aging
Oral Health
Medical Studies
Insurance
Social Determinants and Disparities
Health information technology



Devices of the Soul: Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines by Steve Talbott, as reviewed by Richard Mateosian for IEEE Micro, Thinking About Technology. Are we giving up too much of our humanity to technology?

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Directory of thousands of open access, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals (which do not charge readers or their institutions for access), with link to journals' websites.

Does it pay to know your Myers-Briggs type? (Washington Post graphic on the various Myers-Briggs types). Corporate America, the government and universities think so. They spend millions of dollars each year giving workers and students the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (based on Carl Jung’s work in psychological typology) to steer training programs and career goals. This graphic shows the 16 types and explains them in context of the Myers-Briggs philosophy. Here's the interesting companion article by Lillian Cunningham (Washington Post, 12-14-12)

The End of Science Writing by Jon Franklin (Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture, 1997)

Environmental Health News and archives.

Equipment and Software for Medical Writers (PDF, a compilation of collective wisdom from subscribers to The Hittlist). Emma Hitt teaches a six-week course in medical writing.

EurekAlert. Science news that's just a click away. Portals for the public, reporters, and embargoes news; a resource for reporters,a tool for public information officers (PIOs). A public service project of the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science. EurekAlert Links & Resources

European Guide to Science Journalism Training (2010)

Evaluating an Assertion (Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth, CECS)

The Fallacy Files (analysis of various logical fallacies)

FAQ for new and aspiring science writers (National Association of Science Writers)

FDA Approved Prescription Drug Information (big database of information on prescription drugs)

**A Field Guide for Science Writers: The Official Guide of the National Association of Science Writers, edited by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson, and Robin Marantz Henig. For an interesting interview on becoming a science writer, listen to Robin Marantz Henig (Longform podcast episode 193, interviewed by Evan Ratliff, May 2016)

‘The Finkbeiner Test’ (Curtis Brainard, CJR, 3-22-13) Seven rules to avoid gratuitous gender profiles of female scientists.

FrameWorks Institute Changing the conversation on social issues. Mapping the gaps on elder abuse. Framing immigration reform. How to frame informal STEM learning for maximum effect. Building new narrative on human services. Communicating the complex. Gender and justice. Etc.

A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health (download PDF version for free). National Academies Press. Scroll down to see more such titles, all of which sell for fairly high prices but at least most of which can be downloaded free in PDF versions.

The Future of Science Journalism, audio-recorded talks from a Knight-sponsored two-day symposium in Cambridge on where the field is heading.

Healthcare Hashtag Project . Discover where the healthcare conversations on Twitter are taking place, discover who to follow within your specialty or disease or on a specific topic, and find the best from conferences or moderated chats in real time or in archives (for example, there are lively discussions at #eldercarechat and there is a whole page on breast cancer hashtags). See
Hashtags by disease
Hashtags by conference

How many interviews? (Jeanne Erdmann, Ask TON, TheOPENNotebook, 7-16-13)

How health statistics can mislead (Andrew Van Dam, Covering Health, AHCJ, 12-9-09)

How Much Should I Charge? (Writers and Editors)

How to break into science writing using your blog and social media (Bora Zivkovic, The SA Incubator, The next generation of science writers and journalists.Scientific American, 4-2-13). Excellent advice for aspiring science writers.

How to Research the Medical Literature About Cancer (how to use databases and online resources); How to access Medline and other medical databases,, and How to get basic information about your cancer online

How to get your start in science writing, Ed Yong gathered responses to that question from 145 science writers; they were published in Discover Magazine as On the Origin of Science Writers

H2ODotCon (water related pseudoscience fantasy and quackery, sorting legitimate claims about water from claims that various kinds of water reverse aging, prevent cancer, etc.)

Human Body Maps (HealthLine interactive online tool)

The Humdrum Events of Modern Medicine's Underbelly: A Guided Tour (Abigail Zuger, MD, in NY Times, reviews White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine by Carl Elliott (the pharmaceutical industry, of course).

Humor among peer reviewers. César Sánchez, in his blog Twisted Bacteria, quotes from the annual December issue of Environmental Microbiology, which features humorous quotes peer reviewers made while assessing manuscripts submitted to the journal.

ICJME Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors). See also ICJME's Guiding Principles for the Development of Policies on Sharing Clinical Trials Data (January 2014)

Instructions to authors for over 6,000 journals in health and life sciences (Mulford Health Science Library, University of Toledo)

Knight Science Journalism Boot Camp

Knight Science Journalism 9-month fellowships, and FAQs about the fellowships

KSJ tracker , Knight Science Journalism's blog devoted to highlighting and critiquing the best (and sometimes worst) examples of journalism about science, technology, health, and the environment: "peer review within science journalism." Cutting back a bit, to reflect, in 2014: Saying Goodbye to the KSJ Tracker (Deborah Blum and Wade Roush, 8-14-14 -- and do read the many comments). Old entries will still be there.

The Laryngospasms, a group of certified registered nurse anesthetists, create and perform medical parodies (check the videos, including "Waking Up Is Hard to Do")

Making the leap from news to books: Critical questions (The Open Notebook--The story behind the best science stories). The questions that go into books might be different from those that drive newspaper and magazine journalism. With that in mind, Charles Quoi asked six successful science authors (Deborah Blum, David Dobbs, Matthew Hutson, Maggie Koerth-Baker, Maryn McKenna, and Carl Zimmer) what questions they have found themselves asking — of themselves or of their sources — when writing books. Are there essential questions that journalists might not ask but which book authors should? Interesting responses. And David Dobbs took the opportunity to write a piece for Wired: “How Full of Sh*t Are They?” and Other Questions Writers Ask (June 2012)

Mental health and substance abuse services
Mental health services locator, by state (SAMHSA, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration)
National Addiction Rehab Locator
Find Support & Programs (NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Coping with chronic, rare, and invisible diseases and disorders (Dying, Surviving, and Aging with Grace--not in that order)
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Medical News Today (highlights of recent medical news)

Money talks: when the borders between adverts and editorial content merge (Katherine Staines, Association of British Science Writers, 5-31-11)

Mosaic Magazine (an archive of articles published by the National Science Foundation's flagship magazine, 1970-92) and Like a Phoenix (Earle Holland's "On Research" blog about that period of rich science writing)

National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF)

National Health Policy Forum (NHPF) at George Washington University

National Library of Medicine (excellent links to health and medical information and databases), National Institutes of Health

Nature podcasts. Each week Nature publishes a free audio show. Listen online to the archived podcasts

Nature vs. Science (Tales from the Road PhD Comic on the rivalry between the two magazines, part 2) and Part 1,, by Jorge Cham

Next generation of science media: Where's the money? (Andy Extance reports on an interesting meeting of the Association of British Science Writers, 5-22-11)

***News and Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields by Victor Cohn and Lewis Cope

Newswise Theme Wires Calendar. Professional journalists can sign up to receive Newswise news alerts, access to embargoed news, and contact info for expert sources. There is a Daily Wire, a Science Wire, a Medical Wire, a Life Wire, and a Business Wire.

NIH Research. CRISP replaced by NIH RePORTer (NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting), a searchable database on federally funded biomedical research projects and programs. News updates here.

Online resources for science writers (National Association of Science Writers). This led me, for example, to Use Search Operators To Find Stories, Sources and Documents Online (Meranda Watling, 10,000 Words, Media Bistro 4-19-11)

Open access journals
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Directory of thousands of open access, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals (which do not charge readers or their institutions for access), with link to journals' websites.
PLoS--Public Library of Science (open access documents)
Open Journal Systems (Public Knowledge Project, a multi-university initiative developing (free) open source software and conducting research to improve the quality and reach of scholarly publishing)
Open journals that piggyback on arXiv gather momentum (Elizabeth Gibney, Nature, 1-4-16) Peer-review platforms built around online pre-print repositories spread to astrophysics.

The Open Notebook (the stories behind the best science stories). Great material for science writers. See, for example, behind-the-story interviews , elements of craft, natural habitat (where science writers share their working spaces -- offices, spare bedrooms, coffee shops, hammocks -- and the accoutrements that help them do their work), and other resources. I particularly liked Robin Marantz Henig's account of writing about anxiety for the New York Times Magazine., one of many interesting Open Notebook interviews about the writing process , the stories behind the stories.

Our Cluttered Mind, Jonah Lehrer's review (NYTimes 5-27-10) of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, who wrote Is Google Making Us Stupid? for The Atlantic (July/​August 2008).

PepsiGate linkfest (Bora Zivkovic, on A Blog Around the Clock, posts links to all key posts about the event). David Disalvo writes about it in PepsiGate’ Rocks the Science Blogging World (TrueSlant 7-8-10). Roughly: SEED magazine, owner of the well-regarded ScienceBlogs network, "decided to allow Pepsi to have its own blog on the network, called 'Food Frontiers'–which, of course, they would pay for, not unlike a block of continuous advertising space. Many bloggers at ScienceBlogs are not happy about this. The standard for any credible science journalism network is that writers earn their space on merit, not because they have products to pitch."

Pigasus Award, annual tongue-in-cheek awards (dubious awards for dubious claims)presented as 5 Worst Promoters of Nonsense by noted skeptic James Randi to expose parapsychological, paranormal or psychic frauds

PHIL (Public Health Image Library), an organized, universal electronic gateway to CDC's images "organized into hierarchical categories of people, places, and science" and "presented as single images, image sets, and multimedia files" for use by "public health professionals, the media, laboratory scientists, educators, students, and the worldwide public to use this material for reference, teaching, presentation, and public health messages."

****Pitch Database (TheOPENNotebook)

PLoS--Public Library of Science (open access documents)

Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors (Steve Silberman, PLoS blog, 6-2-11) With wonderfuil tips from Carl Zimmer, David Shenk, Cory Doctorow, Bill Wasik, Geoff Manaugh, Mark Frauenfelder, Deborah Blum, August Kleinzahler, Ben Casnocha, Barry Boyce, Peter Conners, David Crosby, Paula Span, Rudy Simone, John Schwartz, Sylvia Boorstein, David Gans, Josh Shenk, John Tarrant, Jonah Lehrer, Seth Mnookin, Maryn McKenna, Anonymous, and 255 responses

ProMED (email warnings of infectious diseases)

Pro Publica Data. Much to be found here: Workers’ Comp Benefits: How Much is a Limb Worth?, Workers’ Compensation Reforms by State, Employers Complain of Rising Premiums, But Workers’ Comp Is at 25-Year Low, Nonprofit Explorer (Search IRS 990 filings), How Dark Money Flows Through the Koch Network, ER Wait Watcher, How Well Did FEMA’s Maps Predict Sandy’s Flooding?, China’s Memory Hole: The Images Erased From Sina Weibo, After the Flood: New Maps and a New Plan for New York, How Much Acetaminophen Are You Taking?, Nursing Home Inspect, Updated Dollars for Docs. Invaluable for journalists and the public.

PubMed (database of 21 million citations for medical research from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Here is a PubMed Tutorial (on how to narrow your search etc.). And here is a story about a problem NLM needs to address: Something’s Rotten in Bethesda — The Troubling Tale of PubMed Central, PubMed, and eLife (Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, 10-22-12). The National Library of Medicine should manage NCBI and PMC more conscientiously, and make them stop competing with publishers and technology companies.

Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine (personal accounts of illness and healing, fostering the humanistic practice of medicine, encouraging health care advocacy). See Pulse's archive of poems and stories.

Quackwatch (about, and against, complementary and alternative medicine)

Reporting on Health (articles and fellowships from California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships)

Reporting on Suicide website. Download PDF of Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (PDF, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

Resources for health care journalists (links to general and specialized sites, for the Association of Health Care Journalists)

Resources for covering swine flu, pandemics and preparedness (one of several AHCJ tip sheets for journalists)

Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky track retractions as a window into the scientific process)

Richard Feynman explains the scientific method in 1964 lecture (video of this delightful scientist's explanation of what makes something scientific)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (excellent data and human resources on health policy and public health)

Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop

Scholarly Work, Without All the Footnotes (Arthur S. Brisbane, The Public Editor, NY Times, 10-2-10), on how a dispute about a Times Magazine article, Does Your Language Shape How You Think? by linguist Guy Deutscher, illustrates the differences between academic publishing and the popular press. Mainly: less credit to sources--and why not post those online?

Science Alert. Click on envelope icon to get Science Alerts daily by email.

Science as Falsification (Sir Karl R. Popper, excerpt from Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge--something on the philosophy of science that my godson recommends. You can listen to Popper explaining the same thing on YouTube. And here's Wikipedia's summary of Popper's claim to solve the philosophical problem of induction.

Science as a journalism ghetto: Conversation with Dan Vergano: the Science Ghetto with Ann Finkbeiner. Do check out the comments. An important and interesting conversation about why science doesn't have a higher seat at the journalism table.

The Science Byline Counting Project: Where Are the Women—and Where Are They Not? (Cynthia Graber and Katharine Gammon, Open Notebook, 2-10-16) "For short articles, women’s bylines typically equaled and in some cases outnumbered men’s. But for longer front-of-book or back-of-book pieces, where writers have an opportunity to showcase their writing style and establish credentials that could lead to opportunities to write the more prestigious feature articles, men outnumbered women, in some cases by a factor of two or three to one....At nearly all publications we examined, men published more in-depth feature stories than women did." And so on.

Science careers blog (Science, various contributors)

Science Daily (news digests on a range of topics)

Science Friday (Ira Flatow's fascinating radio show--"making science radioactive"TM -- listen live (Fridays 2 to 4 EDT) or to archived shows)

Science in Society Journalism Awards

Scienceline (a a student-run online magazine published by NYU's science, health, and environmental reporting program, SHERP).

Science Podcasts (Science Magazine, with archives from 2005 on) href="http://www.sciseek.com/"target="_blank">Sciseek (science search engine and directory)

Science writer is quite the specimen himself: He's 94 (Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times, 2-21-13). The San Francisco Chronicle's David Perlman churned out 111 stories last year and is still going strong. Not bad for someone born before the discovery of penicillin and Pluto.

• Sci-Hub. Researcher illegally shares millions of science papers free online to spread knowledge (Fiona MacDonald, Science Alert, 2-12-16). Welcome to Sci-Hub, the Pirate Bay of science. "A researcher in Russia [ Alexandra Elbakyan} has made more than 48 million journal articles - almost every single peer-reviewed paper every published - freely available online. And she's now refusing to shut the site down, despite a court injunction and a lawsuit from Elsevier, one of the world's biggest publishers." Interesting dilemma and discussion. See also this very important piece in the Times: Should All Research Papers Be Free? (Kate Murphy, SundayReview, NY Times, 3-12-16), follow-up analysis to the suit against Alexandra Elbakyan but also about the scholarly journals' paywalls she denounced, in which the "largest companies, like Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Springer and Wiley, typically have profit margins of over 30 percent, which they say is justified because they are curators of research, selecting only the most worthy papers for publication. Moreover, they orchestrate the vetting, editing and archiving of articles."
"In response to the suit filed against her, Ms. Elbakyan wrote a letter to the judge pointing out that Elsevier, like other journal publishers, pays nothing to acquire researchers’ studies. Moreover, publishers don’t pay for the volunteer peer reviewers or editors. But they charge those same researchers, reviewers and editors, not to mention the public, whose tax dollars most likely funded the study in the first place, to read the resulting articles."
“That is very different from the music or movie industry, where creators receive money from each copy sold,” Ms. Elbakyan wrote. “I would like to also mention that we never received any complaints from authors or researchers.”

Secrets of Good Science Writing (excellent Guardian blog, in honor of the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize , sponsored by the Guardian and the Observer). A mere selection, from more than 50 blog entries:
David Dobbs on science writing: 'hung down jargon and kill it' (David Dobbs, The Guardian, 4-19-13)
Mo Costandi on science blogging ('You've nothing to lose')
Mo Costandi on science writing: a good story conveys wonderment (4-22-13)
Jacob Aron on science writing: 'Analogies are like forklift trucks'
Michael Hanlon on science writing: 'You need a bullshit detector'
Linda Geddes on science writing: 'There is always another side to the story'
Geoff Brumfiel on science writing: 'Search out the voices you disagree with'
Helen Pearson on science writing: 'Surprise me!'
Penny Bailey on science writing: 'You need to know how to tell a good story'
Roger Highfield on science writing: 'Grab them with your first sentence'
Louisa Young: 'You can't go mucking about with science' (video)
Jo Marchant on science writing: 'You need a burning curiosity'
Tim Radford on science writing: 'Don't be afraid to ask simple questions'
A voyage of discovery: how the best science writers keep you enthralled (Ed Yong) Rather than being laden from the outset with jargon, good writing will draw readers in and reward them for their attention.

7 Words (and more) You Shouldn’t Use in Medical News (HealthNewsReview)

Society for Scholarly Publishing. See its list of sustaining and supporting organizational members and its excellent blog, The Scholarly Kitchen "What's hot and cooking in scholarly publishing"

So you want to be a science writer (PDF file, Association of British Science Writers)

Starting a Career in Science Writing (Andrew Fazekas, Jim Austin, Science, 5-20-05, replete with links to similarly useful articles)

STATS (examining how numbers are distorted and statistics are misunderstood in the media and in society)

Survival Secrets for Freelance Science Writers (Andrew Fazekas, Science, 5-20-05)

Spellex (test your medical spelling aptitude)

Spurious Correlations (for when you want a good and amusing example)

Technical writers, which skill sets are important for (Writing Assistance, Inc.). See also
How technical writers add value to your team
Technical writers as subject matter experts
Technical writers are communicators
"
10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science (Emily Willingham, who writes about the science they're selling you, for Forbes, 11-8-12 -- read the comments, too). Originally published on Double X Science

Tip sheets for health care journalists and experts (available only to members of the Association of Health Care Journalists). Tip sheet topics include Statistical errors even you can find, What you need to know about risks, rates and ratios, Medicine 101: Words, numbers and journals, Resources for covering mental health and the military, Sources and resources for journalists covering aging, Digging into hospital finances, Domestic violence, budgets and the economy, Problems faced by ethnic minorities, Investigating health care fraud, How well does your state oversee nurses, many more -- great resources!

Tipsheet: For Reporting on Drugs, Devices and Medical Technologies (The Commonwealth Fund)

Tips for Understanding Studies (HealthNewsReview.org). Highly recommended: Covering Medical Research: A Guide for Reporting on Studies by Gary Schwitzer, one of several Slim Guides published by the Association of Health Care Journalists, with the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Other slim guides available free, online:
Covering the Health of Local Nursing Homes
Navigating the CDC: A Journalist's Guide to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web Site
Covering Obesity: A Guide for Reporters
Covering Hospitals: Using Tools on the Web.

Tips on scientific writing from European Science Editors, on Sharmanedit, drawn from EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles to be Published in English (PDF, June 2011)

Taking Good Notes: Tricks and Tools (The Open Notebook). Speedwriting, PearNote, Livescribe, alternative handwriting systems, and more.

Toolkit for New Medical Writers (free and online resources and guidance, for both scientific medical writing and medical marketing writing), Delaware Valley chapter, American Medical Writers Association

Top Science Writers Lists
By no means perfect as lists, these will at least lead you to some good reading
Twenty-First Century Science Writers (The Top Tens)
Ten or More Twenty-First Century Science Communicators of Various Forms Who Are Really Good, All of Whom Happen to be Women (Sean Carroll)
The 50 best science writers of all time(OnlineCollege.org)
Best American Science Writers (Joel Achenbach, Achenblog, Washington Post, 4-4-12)
100 All-Time Greatest Popular Science Books (and 17 More) (Open Education Database)
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Tracker (or Tracker 2.0, as a subdivision of UnDark). The MIT Knight Science Journalism Program’s Tracker Blog, now a regular column, turning "a discerning eye on science journalism — the good, the bad, and the occasionally mystifying — with the hope that our analyses will help to keep science writing vibrant, alive, and free from temptation."

Training peer reviewers (David A. Mackey, NatureJobs.com)

The Truth Wears Off (Jonah Lehrer, Annals of Science, New Yorker, 12-13-10). Is there something wrong with the scientific method? The "decline effect": The decline of significance in positive results from clinical trials -- results that are rigorously proved and accepted -- start shrinking in later studies. This can be explained by selective reporting, regression to the mean, and positive publication bias. "Our beliefs are a form of blindness," writes Lehrer (e.g., results from trials on acupuncture are more positive in Asia than in the West). Early termination of trials that show a positive result could also enshrine a statistical fluke, adds one reader.

Twitter lists for medical/​science editors (KOK Edit). Save time and sign up to follow the tweeters on Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's lists of good Twitter feeds. By category: Health and medicine, news media, science resources, scientists, freelancing resources, and edit-Long-Islanders.

Undark. An editorially independent, foundation-supported digital publication of MIT's Knight Science Journalism Program. For example: The Death of a Study (Charles Schmidt, Case Study, Undark, 5-25-16) A long-term study of childhood disease burned through $1.3 billion in taxpayer funds, only to be mothballed before it ever got off the ground. Why?


The Use of Superlatives in Cancer Research (Matthew V. Abola and Vinay Prasad, JAMA Oncology, Jan. 2016) "Whereas most new cancer drugs afford modest benefits,2 approved drugs or those in development may be heralded as “game changers” or “breakthroughs” in the lay press. These news articles may be important sources of information to patients, the public, and investors—with a broader reach than medical journal articles. However, omission of medical context or use of inflated descriptors may lead to misunderstandings among readers."

Was a USDA scientist muzzled because of his bee research? (Steve Volk, Washington Post Magazine, 3-3-16)

What Is Science Journalism Worth? Part I (Kendall Powell, The Open Notebook, 1-20-15) "The money in this job sucks." Excellent discussion of where magazines and reporters/​writers/​editors find themselves today. A couple of quotes:
• Apoorva Mandavilli, editor-in-chief of SFARI.org, a foundation-backed journalism website that reports on autism research, says the gig economy poses an additional problem for her. "The current economic atmosphere, she says, creates a tension for writers who feel that career success depends on publishing shorter pieces at the online versions of marquee publications, which usually pay less than their print counterparts....This tension keeps all of us, myself included, beholden to unbelievably low rates when we want a flashy byline. And it allows those publications’ low offerings to suppress rates across the entire field."
• Emma Marris: "Some of our books really change people’s opinions and touch people’s lives. And yet, [writing books] can only be done by those who are either spousally subsidized, bad at math, or just very stubborn.” Part II explores what freelance science writers can do to fight their way back toward that ideal. "Most experienced freelancers aim for a rock-bottom rate of $1.00 per word for magazine work and $0.50 per word for online or newspaper copy..,,re-negotiate for more compensation when asked to do a rush job or whenever an assignment requires more labor than the original agreement." Demand a reasonable kill fee for if the article is not accepted. Rosie Mestel, chief magazine editor at Nature, advises freelancers "to write more short, newsy pieces and fewer labor-of-love, longer pieces. 'It makes me sad to say that. I don’t think it would be that satisfying, nor would it serve the public as well.' " Apoorva Mandavilli, editor-in-chief at SFARI.org, says more writers should "look more closely at niche publications—often backed by foundations, scientific societies, or patient-advocacy groups that remain hands-off editorially—because they can afford to pay better rates."

What is a technical writer? How do I become a technical communicator? How do I get into this field without any experience? What are some good reference books? How much are technical communicators paid? How can I find a job in technical communication? I have a degree in English—what can I do with it? Q&As from the DC-Baltimore chapter of the Society for Technical Communication

What is the difference between a certificate and certification? (Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society--scroll down for explanation)

The Why Files (the science behind the news)

Without Fear or Favor, But Maybe an Industry Partner (Paul Raeburn, Undark, 4-22-16) Can journalistic organizations court industry partnerships without undermining their reputations? Should respected journalists lend their names and reputations to co-sponsored conferences by participating on the panels? Nobody seems to be waiting to find out.

Working as a Medical Writer (Sarah A. Webb, Science, 6-22-07)

Writing a Literature Review by Allyson Skene, The Writing Centre, University of Toronto at Scarborough (PDF)


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Books for Science and Medical Writers

Download the Universe (founded by Carl Zimmer, this new science e-book review site will lead you to what's hot in the science e-book universe, as reviewed by good science writers). Meanwhile, here are a few titles that may belong on your bookshelf.
• Alliance for Health Reform, Covering Health Issues (download free online)
• Avorn, Jerry. Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks and Costs of Prescription Drugs
The Best American Science Writing (annual).
• Benson, Philippa J. and Susan C. Silver What Editors Want: An Author's Guide to Scientific Journal Publishing (University of Chicago Press)
• **Blum, Deborah; Mary Knudson, and Robin Marantz Henig. A Field Guide for Science Writers, 2nd edition (2005)
• Bolten, Randall Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You
• **Cohn, Victor and Lewis Cope. News & Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields, 2nd edition
• Day, Robert, and Barbara Gastel. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper
• Deyo, Richard and Donald Patrick. Hope or Hype. This overview of medicine emphasizes how as a culture we promote new (especially high-tech) measures that are often less effective and more costly than old standards
• Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures
• Friedman, Sharon M., Sharon Dunwoody, and Carol Rogers, eds. Communicating Uncertainty: Media Coverage of New and Controversial Science
• Gastel, Barbara. Health Writer's Handbook
• Gawande, Atul. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science
• Gawande, Atul. Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
• Gopnik, Adam. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics. See also The Cartoon Guide to Physics, The Cartoon Guide to Genetics, The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry, plus guides to algebra and calculus.
• Greenberg, Daniel S. Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion
• Groopman, Jerome. How Doctors Think
• Groopman, Jerome. Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in the Changing World of Medicine
• Hall, George M.How to Write a Paper. Clear instructions on getting published in a biomedical journal.
• Hancock, Elise. Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing
• Hart, Geoffrey. Writing for Science Journals: Tips, Tricks, and a Learning plan . See table of contents and a sample chapter, or buy eBook here.
• Hayden, Thomas and Michelle Nijhuis. The Science Writers' Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish, and Prosper in the Digital Age
• Iles, Robert I. Guidebook to Better Medical Writing
• Institute of Medicine. To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Read free online.
• JAMA and the Archives Journals. AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors.Latest editions expands electronic guidelines.
• Kassirer, Jerome P. On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health
• Kryder, Cynthia L. and Brian G. Bass. The Accidental Medical Writer: How We Became Successful Freelance Medical Writers. How You Can, Too.
• Lang, Thomas A. and Michelle Secic. How to Report Statistics in Medicine: Annotated Guidelines for Authors, Editors, and Reviewers (American College of Physicians)
• Lang, Thomas A. How to Write, Publish, and Present in the Health Sciences: A Guide for Physicians and Laboratory Researchers
• Levi, Ragnar. Medical Journalism: Exposing Fact, Fiction, Fraud
• Manning, Phillip. Science Books (science books news and reviews)
• MindSet. MindSet Media Guide: Reporting on Mental Health (PDF, free download, in French or English)
• Monson, Nancy and Linda Peckel. Just What the Doctor Ordered: An Insider's Guide to Medical Writing
• Moynihan, Ray and Alan Cassels. Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients
• Mullan, Fitzhugh, Ellen Ficken, and Kyna Rubin, eds. Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy (collection of personal stories of patients, physicians, policy makers, and others whose writings humanize health policy issues, drawn from the popular "Narrative Matters" column in the journal Health Affairs.
• Nijhuis, Michelle. The Science Writers' Essay Handbook: How to Craft Compelling True Stories in Any Medium. Compact and readable, writes Lynne Lamberg.
• Nuland, Sherwin. How We Die and How We Live
• Olson, Randy. Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story. His “And, But, Therefore” template will help bring the clarification of story to science pieces. Read this story from Inside Higher Ed, which how the "and, and, and" approach of Al Gore's movie on climate change made it less effective.
• Park, Robert L. Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
• Science Friday. Science books discussed on Science Friday
The Scientist (the periodical).
• Stewart, James. Blind Eye: The Terrifying Story of a Doctor Who Got Away with Murder
• Veatch, Robert M. The Basics of Bioethics, 2nd ed.
• Woodford, F. Peter. How to Teach Scientific Communication (Council of Biology Editors, 1999). Helpful for teaching clinicians.
• Zeiger, Mimi. Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers (available as Kindle or in print).
• Zilberberg, Marya D. Between the Lines: Finding the Truth in Medical Literature "A thoughtful, clear, conversational guide to the intricacies of medical science, studies and statistics."~ Maryn McKenna. "A readable manifesto about real-world evidence-based medicine."~Paul D. Simmons
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Medical and scientific images and illustrations (a partial list of sources)
AnatLine, National Library of Medicine's database of anatomical images, with online browser
Anatquest (visually compelling ways to bring anatomic images,including 3D renderings and labeled views, from the Visible Human dataset to the general public (with no-cost license agreement).
Doctor Stock (rights-managed medical and healthcare images)
DPDx Parasite Image Library
Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) , National Library of Medicine
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs
Medical Illustration Source Book (The Association of Medical Illustrators, with online portfolios)
over 1 million images and 2,000 hours of broadcast quality film footage.
NASA Multimedia Video Gallery
National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery
Netter Images (medical illustrations)
NIH Photo Galleries
NOAA's Photo Library
PHIL (CDC's Public Health Image Library)
U.S. Department of Agriculture Image Gallery (Agricultural Research Service)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library
U.S. Geological Survey Multimedia Gallery
The Visible Human Project (NLM)

See also
Visualizing Data (science infographics, the difference between visualization and infographics, time lapse visualization,
Charts, one way of visualizing data
Medical and scientific illustrations and illustrators
Multimedia explanations

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The truth about health care reform and health care policy


Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science by David H. Freedman (The Atlantic, Nov. 2010). "Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors--to a striking extent--still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science." On PLoS Medicine you can read Ioannidis's article, Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.
Whitehouse.gov The eight basic consumer protections the White House wants health care reform to cover: (1) No discrimination for pre-existing conditions, (2) No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays, (3) No cost-sharing for preventive care, (4) No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill, (5) No gender discrimination, (6) No annual or lifetime caps on coverage, (7) Extended coverage for young adults, (8) Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid. Learn more about these consumer protections at http:/​/​www.whitehouse.gov/​
Excluded Voices. Trudy Lieberman's penetrating series of interviews on health care reform, in Columbia Journalism Review. Start with her interview with Wendell Potter, who "didn’t want to be part of another health insurance industry effort to shape reform that would benefit the industry at the expense of the public." You can also listen to Bill Moyers interview Potter or read the transcript and Potter's testimony before Congress.
Alliance for Health Care Reform (this nonpartisan organization has excellent resource guides for reporters).
Choosing to not have health insurance (J. Duncan Moore Jr., L.A.Times,9-21-09), though he may not have intended it, this is an argument for reform
Mental health: why journalists don’t get help in the workplace (Megan Jones, Ryerson Review of Journalism Spring 2014). "Reporters are finally telling empathetic stories about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, but newsroom culture keeps journalists’ own struggles in the dark." Find links to good articles about Suicide, suicide prevention, and suicide reporting here.
C-Span's Health Care Hub is a good place to find various town hall discussions, hearings, wonderful links. C-Span, you're wonderful!
The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care (Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, 6-1-09)
A consumer guide to handling disputes with your employer or private health plan, 2005 update, Kaiser Family Foundation
C-Span's Health Care Hub is a good place to find various town hall discussions, hearings, wonderful links. C-Span, you're wonderful!
DrSteveB's blogroll (helpful Daily Kos blogger--and check his blogroll for other resources)
Find Help (HRSA links to free and inexpensive care)
5 Myths About Health Care Around the World by T.R. Reid (Washington Post, 8-23-09).
Guaranteed Health Care (National Nurses Organizing Committee, California Nurses Association)
The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid
Health Affairs (the policy journal of the health sphere)
HELP Is on the Way (Paul Krugman on why universal health coverage is affordable)
Health Insurance Consumer Information (news you can use), with blogs that follow the health care debate and discuss news of health insurance coverage around the country, and a Consumer Guide for Getting and Keeping Health Insurance for each state and the District of Columbia. The American Cancer Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other organizations provide support for this research by The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Worth checking out.
Health Insurance Woes: My $22,000 Bill for Having a Baby (And I had coverage for maternity care! Sarah Wildman, DoubleX, 8-3-09). "Our insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, sold us exactly the type of flawed policy—riddled with holes and exceptions—that the health care reform bills in Congress should try to do away with. The “maternity” coverage we purchased didn’t cover my labor, delivery, or hospital stay. It was a sham."..."The individual insurance market is like that old joke about the food being terrible and the portions too small; it’s expensive, shoddy, and deeply unsatisfying. Those of us who buy into it are not protected by the federal and state laws that govern employer-based health care. In fact, there’s no one looking out for us at all."
Insurers explore savings in overseas care: Major health firms offer doctor networks at lower rates in foreign countries. AP/​MSNBC story. ("more insurers are offering networks of surgeons and dentists in places like India and Costa Rica." "The four largest commercial U.S. health insurers — with enrollments totaling nearly 100 million people — have either launched pilot programs offering overseas travel or explored it....Growth has been slow in part because some patients and employers have concerns about care quality and legal responsibility if something goes wrong. Plus, patients who have traditional plans with low deductibles may have little incentive to take a trip.") This is the health insurance industry's approach to health care reform?
Journalists, Left Out of The Debate: Few Americans Seem to Hear Health Care Facts. "For once, mainstream journalists did not retreat to the studied neutrality of quoting dueling antagonists," writes Howard Kurtz (Washington Post 8-24-09). "They tried to perform last rites on the ludicrous claim about President Obama's death panels, telling Sarah Palin, in effect, you've got to quit making things up. But it didn't matter. The story refused to die." As always, Kurtz provides an intelligent analysis of the situation, stating that "the healthy dose of coverage has largely failed to dispel many of the half-truths and exaggerations surrounding the debate. Even so, news organizations were slow to diagnose the depth of public unease about the unwieldy legislation. For the moment, the story, like the process itself, remains a muddle."
Medical Science and Practice in Conflict (Kevin Sack, NYTimes, 11-20-09, on how the consumer public may see evidence-based medicine as a step toward rationing)
Myths and Falsehoods on budget reconciliation (Media Matters, fighting conservative misinformation)
The Pharmaceutical Industry: Angels or Demons? (Policy and Medicine reports a plea for less demonizing of the pharmaceutical industry)
Physicians for a National Health Program (supports single-payer national health insurance)
President's Question Time (Obama, Republicans spar in Q&A (Video of debate 1-29-10, plus Andrew Sullivan's commentary, Daily Dish)
The Real Death Panels: Insurers Deny 22% of Claims (National Nurses Movement on Daily Kos, 9-3-09)
Reach of Subsidies Is Critical Issue for Health Plan (Robert Pear, NY Times, 7-26-09—on another important issue: where the money comes from to cover the costs of the formerly uninsured)
Science Blogs (Health)
SurveyUSA News Poll on Health Care Data (showing public opinion on various aspects of the health care debate, by gender, race, party affiliation, ideology, level of college education, income,region, and age)
•• Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200 (FactCheck.Org, 8-28-09). A notorious analysis of the House health care bill contains 48 claims. Twenty-six of them are false and the rest mostly misleading. Only four are true.
Why markets can’t cure healthcare by Paul Krugman (The Conscience of a Liberal, NY Times, 7-25-09).
You can watch Michael Moore's documentary, Sicko online. You can hear on Bill Moyers' interview with Wendell Potter how the insurance industry planned to defuse reactions to Moore's documentary. As Potter states: "The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that, you're heading down on the slippery slope towards socialism. So they have used scare tactics for years and years and years, to keep that from happening. If there were a broader program like our Medicare program, it could potentially reduce the profits of these big companies. So that is their biggest concern." Potter himself says of the documentary, "I thought that he hit the nail on the head with his movie. But the industry, from the moment that the industry learned that Michael Moore was taking on the health care industry, it was really concerned."
T.R. Reid's conclusion in 5 Myths About Health Care Around the World:
"In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really 'foreign' to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die."


Godwin's Law: ""As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches"
~ Mike Godwin, creator of Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies, fearing glib use of the term will dilute the meaning of "Never Again"

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