The annual ScienceWriters meeting is a joint meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. A mix of professional development workshops, briefings on the latest scientific research, extensive networking opportunities, and field trips, it is a meeting for science writers, by science writers, with content to appeal to both the newest writers and seasoned professionals. The location varies each year based on the host institution, providing access to science writers in all parts of the United States. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will be held entirely online. The conference logo, which is typically designed by the host and represents the geographic locale, was created this year by NASW member Nathan Pieplow, whose design was chosen from among those submitted by members. Pieplow "wanted to show the leaf materializing from abstract pixels, as something of a metaphor for a conference reconstituted in digital form."
Following a series of thoughtful, forward-thinking conversations among the meeting hosts and partners, we have together decided that it is unwise to continue with a plan for a large, in-person October gathering, given the unknown and potentially high level of risk for individuals.
We will postpone our gathering in Colorado, originally scheduled for October 2020, until the fall of 2021. The University of Colorado Boulder and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus are excited to welcome us to the Rocky Mountains next year, and we are delighted that we will still have an opportunity to gather in Colorado as a community. We will meet for ScienceWriters2022 in Chicago as planned, and move our Memphis conference to 2023. We are incredibly grateful to our hosts in Colorado and Tennessee for their flexibility and deep empathy.
We are saddened at having to forgo a beloved annual tradition, if just for a year. More than ever, it seems essential to see and support our colleagues. Yet with this grief comes opportunity. Together NASW and CASW will develop a series of virtual conference events for October. In addition to creating opportunities for professional connection and learning, these online events will provide an opportunity for those who have not experienced a ScienceWriters conference to participate with no travel required. We will spend the summer working with session organizers, speakers, and partner organizations to think about the best ways to engage and learn together online. We will use the time to think creatively about how to provide professional development sessions, science briefings and discussions, networking events, and even a tour or two in engaging, virtual formats.
We invite you to stay tuned to ScienceWriters2020.org for details on our evolving virtual experiment, and we send our best wishes for continued health and safety to you and yours.
Registration opens here on August 11.
Tinsley Davis, Executive Director, NASW
Ros Reid, Executive Director, CASW