Science Online 2012: small snippets from the awesomeness

I feel so fortunate that I was able to go to Science Online 2012, the “unconference” at NCSU in Raleigh, NC, that brought together scientists, science journalists, and science educators and communications people together. We talked a lot about the special considerations of science writing, but a lot of what I learned was just great advice for all journalists.  So, I thought I would share a random collection of the bits of advice that really stuck with me from this weekend in which I learned so much I felt my brain start to melt, for the rest of those in my j-school and beyond who couldn’t make the conference. Continue reading


Plan B, Bad Science, and the Blogosphere

Crisis in the  female reproductive system is hitting the “I’m a woman who’s not afraid of science or sex” section of the blogosphere. Given, it’s not a huge group of writers, but these ladies mean business. Since I am a proud member of the club, I thought I’d take a moment to catalog the action:

The drama begins with a “health” and beauty columnist at XOJane (a new feminist web magazine) writing about a shortage of Plan B in New York City. Which is a legitimate issue. However, her piece is a disaster. She’s trying to be chatty and funny about sex and birth control, which, is a good way to approach a touchy subject (I know from experience) but she crashes and burns. An example from her list of birth control options:

2) Birth control pills. NO. They will make me fat; they will make me “spot” (another thing I squeamishly just DON’T LIKE TALKING ABOUT; don’t worry, though, everyone else who works here does); they will give me acne; and quite frankly, they will NOT prevent me from getting pregnant! I know this because IT HAPPENED TO ME™.

She’s not funny and she’s spreading patently wrong information.  The pill does work, and it does not make you fat.  Studies have proven this, again and again.  However, it doesn’t work if you don’t remember to take it, which is what she uses as her justification in the next paragraph. Continue reading