Monday, May 09, 2005

Stem cells, lawsuits, bond issues, oh my!

STATE CAPITOL - Writing for Money took me to downtown Sacramento today to cover a commission hearing about whether to have the state start selling bonds to fund stem cell research.

From a writer's standpoint, there was everything there: big money, big science, people who have victimized by diseases, politics, and gaggle of media from all over, all focused on one or two things. I pulled out a dozen good freelance ideas beyond the legal issues I will write about for the Bureau of National Affairs, one is that stem cell researchers have already been able to fix spinal cord injuries in small animals.

Yup. Based on their research with the stem cells, they were able to get lab rats up and running around. Find the researcher and add in the $3 billion that Californians want to spend on it and you have quite a story.

TODAY'S WRITING TIP - Get credentials to hang around your neck. Forget that 'I'm an anonymous writer schtick.' Let people know that you work for someone - even if that someone is just a buddy at a publication and says 'sure, use our name...' It will help give you credibility. Plus, other media types will help you out at any event you attend.

Plus, there's always the free food that the press can get.

TODAY'S OP-ED IDEA - Cell phones on airplanes, not just on the runway and when you land, but during the flight. Mark Morford in the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a great piece on it, but with a little localization, or a first person piece, this would sell in most newspapers. Business magazines might be a good place for a piece, too. There, though, the column would be about how many business secrets you might give away yakking on a plane where your competition is sitting two rows away.