Northern California Science Writers Association


Upcoming events

    • Saturday, January 06, 2024
    • Saturday, March 09, 2024
    • 5 sessions
    • Virtual

    Editors and writers proficient at self-editing can make stories shine, shaping good narratives into great ones that are compelling and appealing to read. But how exactly do editors and self-editors work their magic?

    In this virtual workshop series, you’ll learn how to sharpen your editing skills by doing. Participants will engage in interactive exercises using recent news stories as examples. The exercises will be guided by instructor Robin Lloyd, who will share strategies honed particularly during her six years as news editor at Scientific American. The workshop will feature five one-hour sessions, each highlighting a different facet of editing stories to best serve the reader:

    • Session 1. Editing the Takeaway, News Lead, or Topline
      This session will cover how to identify and edit takeaways or summary/news leads, using a few recent stories as examples.
    • Session 2. Editing the Story Structure
      This session will cover nut grafs and a general outline Lloyd suggests for news features.
    • Session 3. Supporting the Takeaway or Topline
      This session will cover editing to support the takeaway or news lead of a story.
    • Session 4. Trimming the Story
      This session will cover how to identify cuts that will serve the story and the reader.
    • Session 5. Editing for Story Cohesion
      This session will put everything together, covering how to analyze a story as a whole and how to identify all the elements as well as ways to make them work better together.

    Whether you’re an editor or a writer, this workshop series will give you the tools for bringing out the best in any moderate-length story and for keeping readers engaged from beginning to end.

    Note: These sessions are designed to be interactive and fun, so please come ready to share your thoughts and suggestions. As Robin Lloyd says, there is no “one right way” to edit a given story. Rather, the goal of this workshop series is to discover and discuss solutions as a group.

    Instructor: Robin Lloyd is a visiting scholar in New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP), a contributing editor at Scientific American, and president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. In 2016-2021, she was a faculty member at NYU’s Science, Health & Environmental Reporting program, teaching science news writing. Prior to that, she was news editor at Scientific American for six years. Past writing and editing employers also include CNN, Spectrum and, with freelance work appearing in Nature, The New York Times and Undark, among others. Awards include recognition by the Society for Environmental Journalists in 2020 for investigative work on water and sewer infrastructure repairs using plastic.

    Location: This will be a Google Meet event; participants will receive details via email.

    Schedule: All five sessions will be held from 9–10 am Pacific Time.

    • January 6, 2024: Session 1. Editing the Takeaway, News Lead, or Topline
    • January 20, 2024: Session 2. Editing the Story Structure
    • February 3, 2024: Session 3. Supporting the Takeaway or Topline
    • February 24, 2024: Session 4. Trimming the Story
    • March 9, 2024: Session 5. Editing for Story Cohesion

    Cost: $20 for the entire 5-session series

    Note: To make this workshop accessible to as many of our members as possible, NCSWA is providing a generous subsidy that keeps the cost low.

    Registration: Spots are limited to 20, and sign ups are for the entire workshop series to foster camaraderie amongst participants. If you miss a session, please contact Robin Meadows for the handout.

    Cancellation policy: Cancellations for the workshop series will be refunded if someone on the waiting list takes the spot.

Past events

Thursday, February 15, 2024 NCSWA Winter Happy Hour
Saturday, November 04, 2023 Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Wednesday, October 18, 2023 Noah Whiteman — Nature's poisons: Why we love them and abuse them
Friday, June 30, 2023 Lawrence Berkeley National Lab tour
Wednesday, May 03, 2023 Energy expert Dan Kammen: Should nuclear power be part of our response to climate change?
Saturday, March 25, 2023 Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science tour
Thursday, February 23, 2023 NCSWA Winter Happy Hour
Thursday, December 08, 2022 How do we build trustworthy AI—and what does that mean?
Thursday, November 10, 2022 NCSWA Fall Happy Hour
Saturday, September 24, 2022 NCSWA Smartphone Photography Workshop
Saturday, August 27, 2022 Eden Landing salt pond restoration tour
Tuesday, July 26, 2022 David Sedlak: The water crisis in the West
Saturday, June 04, 2022 Blue Oak Ranch Reserve campout
Wednesday, March 09, 2022 Taking a Bite Out of Climate Change: A Conversation with Pat Brown of Impossible Foods
Saturday, January 29, 2022 Field trip: Tour of Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 Mars: What NASA missions tell us about the Red Planet's past
Thursday, October 07, 2021 Healthcare and Human Augmentation: A Conversation with Caitlyn Seim
Thursday, July 15, 2021 Science and Public Health in the Post-Pandemic Age: A Conversation with Joe DeRisi and Carl Zimmer
Saturday, May 01, 2021 NEW DATE: Camping and wildflower walk, McLaughlin Natural Reserve
Thursday, April 15, 2021 Genomics for conservation
Thursday, March 25, 2021 Climate Change and Extreme Events in California
Thursday, February 25, 2021 Science Fiction as Science Writing: Kim Stanley Robinson on the Future of Science and Society
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 Beyond the genital handshake: A conversation about the vagina and penis by authors Jen Gunter & Emily Willingham
Tuesday, December 08, 2020 UCSF's Joshua Woolley: The Return of Psychedelic Therapy
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 Journalist Lisa Krieger: Covid 19 - A report from the trenches
Thursday, April 09, 2020 NCSWA Dinner: The Return of Psychedelic Therapy (CANCELED)
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 Doing Science on Mars: Designing Human Space Exploration on Hawaii’s Lava Fields
Thursday, October 17, 2019 Hunger and Thirst: How Our Brain Responds
Friday, October 04, 2019 Big Sur Campout
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Catastrophic wildfires and the fate of the West
Saturday, June 15, 2019 Kayaking Big Break Regional Shoreline
Sunday, April 14, 2019 Earth Day: Volunteer to restore Codornices Creek
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 NCSWA Spring Dinner: MEDICAL EXAMS: THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Saturday, January 19, 2019 Tour of St. George’s Spirits
Monday, December 03, 2018 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: What do ant colonies, the immune system and spam filters have in common?
Saturday, October 06, 2018 Insects and plants at UC Davis
Sunday, August 19, 2018 San Francisco Rocks
Monday, July 16, 2018 The fate of California’s wildlife in a changing climate
Saturday, April 21, 2018 Sutter Buttes hike
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 NCSWA Spring Dinner: Hacking Cells to Create Tomorrow's Medicines
Saturday, March 17, 2018 NCSWA Workshop — Career Planning for Science Writers: How to get from where you are to where you want to be
Sunday, March 04, 2018 NCSWA Field Trip — Oro Loma ecotone slope
Tuesday, December 05, 2017 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Ancient DNA--A Path Toward De-Extinction?
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Little darlin’ ... There goes the sun: August's total solar eclipse
Saturday, April 29, 2017 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Saturday, April 22, 2017 NCSWA March for Science Meetup
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 When itch becomes a pain: the biology of touch
Saturday, March 04, 2017 Show and Tell: How to build stories with scenes and voice
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 California's redwoods in a changing climate
Sunday, October 30, 2016 Tour of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Saturday, October 08, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 A Giant Step for Robots
Saturday, August 27, 2016 Walking Tour: Berkeley Rocks!
Thursday, August 04, 2016 The see-through brain
Saturday, April 23, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Narrative Structure: Choosing the best way to tell your story
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Open Board Meeting
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Stiff, Spook, Bonk and More: Science Meets Humor
Saturday, February 27, 2016 Marine Mammal Center & Point Bonita Lighthouse
Saturday, February 20, 2016 NCSWA WORKSHOP: The Art of the Science Essay
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Pluto’s “Spinning Top” Moons and other Discoveries
Thursday, October 08, 2015 NCSWA Movie Night: The Martian
Thursday, October 01, 2015 Your Aging Cells: The Fast Track to Disease?
Saturday, September 19, 2015 NCSWA Data Scraping and Visualization Workshop
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 How CRISPR gene editing is changing our world
Friday, June 26, 2015 NCSWA weekend at Hastings Reserve, June 26-28
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Proof: the Science of Booze
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 How scary is Ebola?
Saturday, May 24, 2014 Underground tour of Black Diamond Mines
Thursday, April 03, 2014 Daniela Kaufer - Stress & the Brain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Holiday dinner: Chasing volcanoes
Thursday, September 26, 2013 NCSWA Night at the Exploratorium
Friday, August 16, 2013 Camping trip to Sagehen reserve in the Sierra Nevada
Friday, May 03, 2013 How to Be a Science Writer
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Spring Dinner: Hydraulic Fracturing, with Stanford's Mark Zoback
Saturday, January 12, 2013 NCSWA Data Journalism Workshop
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Nerds on Wall Street (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Thursday, October 11, 2012 NCSWA Fall Event: Cyber Crime (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 NCSWA Movie Night
Friday, August 24, 2012 Overnight trip to North Coast’s Angelo Reserve (FULL)
Saturday, July 14, 2012 Special tour of Buckminster Fuller exhibit (SOLD OUT)
Thursday, May 17, 2012 Spring dinner with Atul Butte
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Resetting the Aging Clock
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 Intimate Aerials: Photography using Kite-Lofted Cameras
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 GAMING SCIENCE: Video Games and Scientific Research – Who’s in the Lead?
Monday, July 11, 2011 SETI: If We're Not Alone, How Will We Find Out?
Thursday, March 10, 2011 Building the brain in silicon
Saturday, February 26, 2011 Hike the "minor peaks" of San Francisco
Saturday, January 22, 2011 Hike the Pinnacles with a ranger
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 Math whiz and Las Vegas card counting veteran Paul Stepahin
Saturday, November 20, 2010 Digital Photography Workshop
Thursday, October 07, 2010 Oil Spills and Microbes: Can Mother Nature Take a Punch?
Saturday, August 21, 2010 NCSWA Point Reyes Kayak Camping
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 David Relman & the Micro World of Endo-Ecology
Thursday, April 01, 2010 Dinner with Stephen Palumbi
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Holiday Dinner with Science Comedian Brian Malow
Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Let’s Get Really Small: A Report on Nanotechnology from Someone Ahead of the Forefront
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 The Hunt for Planets Like Earth
Saturday, April 25, 2009 WORKSHOP: New Directions in Science Writing
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