The D.C. Science Writers Association (DCSWA, pronounced Duck-swa) was founded back in 1987 by a few science reporters with too much time on their hands.
We meet about once a month, and our events vary.
Sometimes we invite somebody in the news such as Arden Bement, director of the National Science Foundation.
Sometimes we have a mini-symposium on a weighty topic, like Science and Religion or Bioterrorism, complete with several experts.
Sometimes we go someplace cool, such as Celera Genomics or the National Zoo, and talk to the people (and critters) there.
Sometimes we have a professional development workshop to talk about things like interviewing techniques, freelance job strategies, or getting your book published. We always have time to schmooze over food and drink before the program starts.
We try not to take ourselves too seriously, but over the years we've managed to become a corporation in Maryland and an entity recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.
We have about 500 members -- writers and editors from nearly all the major news outlets in the area, public information officers from agencies and institutions, and freelancers. We have a board of directors. We have bona fide bylaws and official tax status: We're a 501(c)(6) organization, which means we're tax exempt, but not a charity. Ask your tax preparer whether you can deduct DCSWA dues as a business expense. Or better yet, if you have an employer, ask it to spring for the hefty $20 annual dues.
You can contact us, if you want. We have an e-mail based list with notices about D.C.-area work for science writers and a freelancer's list that we hope will connect DCSWA members with editors and other people looking for writers.
If you want to join DCSWA, we welcome you, and look forward to knowing you!