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Civil Service Code - the story continues

A response has been received to the ABSW letter sent to the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General expressing concern about revisions to the Civil Service Code that could prevent scientists responding to the needs of journalists.

The response does little to reassure those that signed the original letter (ABSW/SMC/Stempra) as highlighted in an article written by Fiona Fox, Chief Executive of the SMC in Research Fortnight.

The BMJ has also taken up this issue in a Feature published at the end of April (NB: the full article is behind BMJ paywall)

The ABSW, alongside the SMC and Stempra will continue to monitor changes to the Code, its effect on civil service scientists and on the freedom for such scientists to speak with journalists. 

  

European survey: remuneration of journalists/authors

Europe Economics and the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam are undertaking a study on the remuneration of writers, journalists, authors of publications in scientific/academic journals, translators, photographers, illustrators and designers (collectively referred to as authors) for the European Commission.
 
Part of the approach is to conduct an online survey of relevant authors.  The results of this study are likely to influence the legislative framework and EC policies that govern the remuneration of authors and this survey gives ABSW members the chance to contribute to the research.
 
The survey should only take 10-15 minutes to complete, and responses are anonymous (neither Europe Economics, the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam nor DG Internal Market will be able to identify the individuals that have responded).  In addition the surveyors will treat the individual responses
collected as confidential and they will not be shared with any third parties.  Only aggregated data will be used in the final report.
 
Herewith links to the surveys, which have been broken down by field:
 
The closing date for completing the survey is 30/05/2015.
 
The survey has been directed to the ABSW by the Creators' Rights Alliance of which the ABSW is a member.   

ABSW former President, Connie St Louis elected to WFSJ board

Connie St Louis, former President of the ABSW and currently the Board's European Representative, has been elected to the Board of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Connie was elected alongside Mohammed Yahia of Egypt, a further vote is currently taking place for the third available post as the first round of voting resulted in a tie between Olivier Dessibourg (Switzerland) and Wolfang Goede (Germany).

For a full run down of the candidates and the votes see the WFSJ website.

 

 

 

ABSW Investigative Science Journalism Fellowship - Extended Deadline for Applications

Deadline extended until midnight on Sunday 31 May 2015
 
NB:   The extended deadline is to try to encourage a larger number of entries and is no reflection on the quality or suitability of any entries already received
 
An article by Martin Ince, President of the ABSW has been published by The Guardian today (Tuesday 28 April 2015) to publicise further the ABSW's Investigative Science Journalism Fellowship.   The Fellowship was established by the ABSW last year but has so far failed to attract a significant number of entries.   The ABSW has therefore decided to have one last push on getting applications by writing the piece for the Guardian and extending the deadline until the end of May.    
 
Details of the Fellowship and how to apply:
 
The Association of British Science Writers would like to encourage investigative science journalism within the UK and has therefore established a Fellowship to enable a journalist experienced in investigative journalism to carry out a detailed investigation.  It is hoped that the Fellowship might be made annually however this will be reviewed after year one.  The Fellowship is to support an experienced journalist who would otherwise not be able to carry out this work (ie: employer cannot support the necessary timescale/freelancer that cannot financially support themselves for a longer term investigation).   The ABSW is also looking at ways of encouraging newcomers to the field and of encouraging investigative journalism in science more widely.
 
There will be two stages to the Fellowship Programme:   
 
In stage one three individuals will be selected and provided with ‘seed funding’ to further develop their proposal and to secure commitment from an editor for publication or broadcast of their investigation.  
 
In stage two one individual will be selected to receive full funding to complete their investigation. The Fellowship is open to ABSW full members whether they are staff or freelance (to join the ABSW see here). You may apply for the Fellowship whilst your application for ABSW membership is considered; you do not have to wait for confirmation of membership. 
 
The Fellowship does not support overseas travel and proposals need to have implications nationally or locally within the UK.
 
Applying for the Fellowship (stage one):
 
To apply for the Fellowship the applicant must write a detailed proposal for the full investigation that they wish to carry out.  NB: Even though this is for stage one ‘seed funding’ the ABSW will require full details of the investigation that would be undertaken at stage two.
 
The ABSW encourages proposals that offer groundbreaking stories. However, if the subject has been covered previously, please acknowledge that coverage and explain how the proposed investigation would significantly advance the story. 
 
Proposals must be journalistic and break ‘news’ and be able to be completed within three months (full time) or the equivalent timescale if being completed part time. NB: Flexibility will be built into the stage two fellowship so that the investigation can be completed.  Reviews at various time points will be built into the stage two fellowship to monitor progress and allow for any time extension deemed necessary by the ABSW 
 
The proposal should outline the story, what you expect to uncover, how this will be done, and the types of sources to be used.  The ABSW will expect evidence of a strong case for the investigation which will require the applicant to already have carried out some initial investigative work to support their case.   The stage one fellowship will not support initial development of a ‘hunch’ or ‘idea’.  The proposal should outline the further work that the seed funding would support to develop the investigation.
 
Proposals should not run to more than 1000 words and should include, details of the exiting evidence already gathered by the journalist, a paragraph or two summarizing the crux of the story and details of how the seed funding would be used.  
 
Include the anticipated start and completion date of the full investigation in the proposal. 
Proposals will remain the intellectual property of the applicant and will be treated with the strictest confidence.
 
The ABSW will expect the applicant to have considered any legal implications of their investigation and to have outlined them within the proposal. The ABSW will have no legal responsibility for the actions of the Fellow or the final published/broadcast work.
 
The proposal must be supported by the following documents:
 
CV 
Detailed budget for the full investigation
Two examples of published/broadcast investigative work 
 
The budget should give a detailed breakdown of the costs identified by the journalist for carrying out the full investigation, the main costs will be expected to be a salary costs for freelancers and for staff journalists who will be required to take an agreed unpaid sabbatical from their employer to complete the project (either full or part time).
  
The Fellowship will not cover capital costs such as the purchase of computers/cameras etc but could for example include the purchase of software for data analysis.  
 
In the case of journalists with staff positions the application for the Fellowship must be discussed and agreed with their employer before submission.  The ABSW will of course discuss the Fellowship with your employer if they have particular queries or concerns. 
 
Selection/Notification Process:
From the stage one proposals three individuals will be selected to receive seed funding of between £500 and £1000 to further develop their ideas and to obtain a statement of commitment from an editor stating that the project will be published or broadcast if completed according to the proposal and in accordance with the outlet’s news standards (the editors contact details will also be required and the ABSW reserves the right to contact the editor if necessary).  
 
Those selected to receive ‘seed funding’ will be notified within a month of the closing date for applications and will be required to further develop their proposal for submission to the ABSW within one month of payment of the seed funding.
 
Stage one awardees will be notified within one month of submission of their secondary proposal re their success or otherwise in receiving the full funding (stage two).
 
Payment of stage one Fellowship funding:
Payment will be made in full for those selected for stage one ‘seed funding’
 
Payment of stage two Fellowship funding:
Two thirds of the funding will be made to the successful applicant at the outset of the fellowship period.   The remaining third will be paid on the successful completion of the project.
 
Application Process:
Please ensure you have read all of the above requirements before completing the application form.  You are strongly advised to prepare your proposal, budget and CV in a separate programme so that you may then save it and copy and paste into the application form.   The application form can not save part completed applications.
 
 
Closing Date: Midnight Sunday 31 May 2015
 
Notification of Fellowship seed funding (one month after closing date - Tuesday 30 June 2015)
 
All enquiries should be directed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Executive Board Election Results 2015

Executive Board Election Results 2015 

There were no contested posts in the 2015 elections, and in accordance with the process decided on and approved in conjunction with the election tellers, the candidates standing were approved by the AGM held on Thursday 26th March 2015.   The candidates took up post immediately after the AGM and will decide on co-opted members at their first meeting in April, to enable student and associate members to be represented on the Board.

Welcome to your new Executive Board

President

Martin Ince

Nominated by: Victoria Parsons & Wendy Barnaby

Supporting Statement: I am president of the ABSW and have previously been board/committee member and treasurer. I was finance director of the World Conference in London in 2009. Very few branches of writing or journalism in the UK have a professional association as capable as the ABSW. It's an honour to be president. I would very much like a further year in office and promise if elected to make time for this important commitment. The ABSW is now well-run and in good financial shape. Its members benefit from a growing range of activities such as the UK Conference of Science Journalists, and can win broader recognition via our flourishing awards scheme. Both of these have attracted sponsorship, and the awards are being expanded with the addition of new categories. I have several priorities for the next stage of the ABSW's development. One is to strengthen your board with new members. Another is to take forward a mooted scheme for mentoring entrants to the profession, an idea that has come from members and which we are planning to take forward. Yet another, arising from an idea by board colleagues, is a Summer School for ABSW members in years when we do not run a complete UKCSJ. In addition, we are looking at ways of working more effectively with colleagues elsewhere in Europe and with the Ugandan science journalists, our partner organisation in the global south.  I'd very much like your support to continue this work for a further year, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.    

Vice President

Mico Tatalovic

Nominated by: Martin Ince & Josh Howgego

Supporting Statement: ABSW today is a successful association that organises great events for its members, from the annual awards to the UK conference – and most recently a summer school for science journalism. It is also at a cutting edge of developments in the sector with its generous fellowship for investigative science journalism and playing a part in reinvigorating science journalism at the European level (through a new award for the best European science writer, and through its work to establish a new European federation of science journalists). It also supports science journalism in developing nations (By twinning with Uganda’s USJA and by co-organising investigative journalism fellowship for the developing world with SciDev.Net).  In my three years or so on the ABSW committee I have seen it become more ambitious. I would like to help keep steering it towards doing good things for its members and for science journalism in general.  As before, I am keen to keep trying to make the board more responsive to its members and press on with supporting student and early-career members as well as with a more prudent use of resources, by actually increasing spending on activities our members want to see.  

Treasurer

Victoria Parsons

Nominated by: Martin Ince & Harriet Bailey

Supporting Statement: I started on the ABSW board as student representative, and have also helped with events. As our current Treasurer must step down I would like to offer myself as the new Treasurer. I am keen for the ABSW to expand as an organisation and continue its excellent work in supporting its membership of science journalists and communicators. The Executive Board posts elected annually and an outline of the responsibilities of each posts are as follows (please scroll down for more on the actual nomination process and the nomination form).

European Representative

Connie St Louis

Nominated by: Beki Hill & Harriet Bailey

Supporting Statement: Over the last year I have continued to work on behalf of the ABSW with other European Associations to form a new European Federation of Science Journalism (EFSJ). You may remember at the last AGM; the ABSW board was given a mandate by members to leave EUSJA, which was not fit for purpose in the areas of governance and finance. During the year preparations have been made create to a European Federation of Science Journalism. The Swiss and Dutch Association have also left EUSJA and a number of other associations including Italy, Germany will be asking their members to join to become founding members of this new federation. It is hoped that the ABSW membership will support plans to continue with this new formation.

General Executive Board Member (7 posts available)

Wendy Grossman

Nominated by: Martin Ince & Mico Tatalovic

Supporting Statement: I am a long-time board member originally coopted to assist with the adoption of new technologies such as the website. I help represent ABSW in the Creators Rights Alliance and generally contribute ideas and problem-solving.

Beki Hill

Nominated by: Ehsan Masood & Martin Ince

Supporting Statement: I have held the position of ABSW member (in charge of events) for a number of years, and would like to stand again for the next term. I have experience of organising science outreach events and have organised a number of successful ABSW events during my time. I would like to stand again to continue to organise events. I would also like to engage with ABSW members in organising the events, and would welcome help and suggestions for event topics.

Joshua Howgego

Nominated by: Mico Tatalovic & Beki Hill

Supporting Statement: I am an early career science editor, currently at SciDev.Net. I'm interested in representing people similarly at the beginning of their careers. And I would like to see the ABSW work to help open up new routes of entry into the profession for people from diverse backgrounds.  

Katharine Sanderson

Nominated by: Bea Perks & Richard Van Noorden

Supporting Statement: I have been a member of the executive board for the past year, and would love to continue my involvement with the continuing work of ABSW. I’m a freelancer, having previously been on staff at Nature and Chemistry World.   I'm particularly interested in ways that ABSW can support freelancers, young writers and those who aren't based in London.

 

 

 

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