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UKCSJ Dragon's Den winner wins Wellcome Trust's Science Writing Prize

The ABSW has discovered that last month, Kate Széll was judged the winner of the Wellcome Trust’s science writing prize in category B for “anyone with a non-professional interest, including undergraduates”. 
 
In June this year Kate successfully pitched a story idea at the UK Conference of Science Journalists Dragon’s Den session.   Kate went on to have her idea commissioned and published by Research Fortnight.  
 
Read Kate’s Wellcome Trust article
Read Kate’s article for Research Fortnight (p21)
 
Congratulations to Kate - obviously a name to watch!
 

The 'missed the deadline' ABSW Xmas Party

The Traditional 'Missed the Deadline' ABSW Xmas Party is set for Thursday 15 January 2015:
 
Thursday 15 January 2015
18:30 onwards
The Somers Town Coffee House (don't worry it is a pub)
Food/drinks/gossip ..sorry I think it's called networking these days 
 
 
More details to follow.
 

Pallab Ghosh wins Science and Technology Journalist of the Year

From today's Press Gazette, news that Pallab (ABSW member and former President of the Association) was awarded Science and Technology Journalist of the Year last night:
 
Science and Technology Journalist of the Year (sponsored by Astellas) – Pallab Ghosh, BBC
 
The BBC’s Pallab Ghosh won the science and technology award for his reports exposing the failure of the Government’s badger culling programme.
 
The judges said: “This was one of those stories where if it wasn’t for people like Pallab the Governnent would have got away with doing what it wanted and ignoring the advice of its own scientists.
 
“There had been previous work where scientists had expressed concerns about the badger culls, lots of journalists were following this up. But Pallab was the only one to get hold of Defra’s own unpublished report showing that the culls were ineffective and inhumane.”
 
Read the full story in the Press Gazette
 

In Conversation with Mark Walport - ABSW and Science Museum Lates Event Report

David and Goliath

By Mike Harrison

© Mike Harrison

 

I represent the ABSW on the national committee of the Creators’ Rights Alliance. We’re conducting a piece of anonymous research to determine the extent of unfair contract practices experienced by creators – writers, photographers, videographers, designers, composers, and so on. 
 
The CRA has lobbied the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger. He has agreed to consider our case for possible changes in the law or the introduction of a model code of practice for commissioning creative material if we can demonstrate sufficient malpractice to warrant it.
 
To gather evidence we have developed a short questionnaire. It would be helpful if as many ABSW members as possible took part. Data collection will close on 5th January 2015.
 
There is already evidence of the need for change where self-employed creators are concerned but staff and other creators subject to contracts of employment also say they’re less than happy about the way their work is handled. Occasionally editorial and managerial staff will say that they’re embarrassed by conditions they have to impose on freelances.
 
So, freelance or not, please find time to read – or skim – what follows and answer as much of the short questionnaire at the end as you wish. Nothing from the responses will be published against your name. The idea is to gain some statistical understanding of the extent of the problem in the fields of operation of ABSW members. Other CRA member bodies are doing the same.
 

Pride

As a writer or any other kind of creator for publication you can take pride in being at the heart of one of Britain’s economic successes. Publishing in all media is booming here and your inventiveness, imagination, research skill, interviewing ability or whatever is the very feedstock of what the Government likes to call “The Creative Economy”. Without a steady input of creative originality publishing in all media would dry up and die.
 
You’d think that economically aware ministers and responsible publishers would want to foster that talent but the consensus amongst the numerous representative bodies forming the Creators’ Rights Alliance is that, for many creators, working conditions are drifting towards sweat-shop level. 
 
Most affected by this shift are the self-employed freelances who make up a growing proportion of the creative workforce. Every commission they undertake is a separate business deal and subject to negotiation. Concept, content, delivery arrangements and payment, and licence terms all have to be agreed.
 
In that respect the freelance creator is in exactly the same boat as any small business proprietor providing a service except that in our case digital distribution is virtually uncontrollable without complete trust between creator and publisher allied with sound laws.
 
Just as with a builder, tailor, or garden designer the media creator hopes that a job done well will encourage repeat business and the negotiating clout to ask for bigger fees. It’s an inherently healthy economic model. Success breeds success, the untalented go to the wall, the quality of the product evolves upwards.
 

Prejudice

Everyone a winner? Well, up to a point. But there is evidence of serious asymmetry in deal-making between the Davids – the one-man-band freelances and contractors – and the Goliath corporations they feed. It’s very tough to challenge an editor who’s in a hurry, with dozens of slots to fill every month and determined to beat you down in price. The hope that you may get a bite at a bigger cake if you take the pain and play along with the demands tends to sap courage.
 
There are also unreasonable demands for “indemnity” in which the freelance is required to take sole responsibility for the accuracy and legality of the material, not just as supplied but as published.
 
Isn’t that their job? In that Kafka-esque thinking a meddling editor could land you with a bankruptcy risk. The cost of insuring the risk might be many times the fee received.
 
Downright unfair contract practices are becoming common amongst commissioning bodies. The worst of these involve retrospective imposition of conditions. The creator may have confirmed verbally or in writing exactly what they thought they’d been asked to do – thus creating a contract in law – but it is not uncommon to find that previously unseen “terms and conditions” suddenly materialise late in the game, often long after delivery and acceptance. These might, for example demand “all rights in all media” thus denying the creator the opportunity to make later, secondary sales. The new demand might be backed by the threat: “Sign this or you won’t get paid”.
 
One extreme example of the “all rights” copyright grab is the case of a tiny specialist magazine circulating a few thousand copies a month in the UK. They pleaded poverty and the writer agreed a barely worthwhile licence fee for “first British rights” hoping for a steady flow of small commissions. Even before the piece appeared in the UK it was published in an Australian publication belonging to the same group and distributing nearly a quarter of a million copies monthly across Australasia. 
 
In fact that ended up as a minor success story. It occurred soon after the introduction of a new Small Claims Court qualified to deal with copyright disputes. The injured author initiated a claim for a more appropriate fee and days before it was due to be heard received settlement. 
 
That was a rare instance of the power of lobbying. Previously the Small Claims Courts were forbidden from hearing intellectual property cases on the grounds that they required too much specialist knowledge. The CRA was amongst the bodies that argued for greater fairness. 
 
But, to judge by information received by the CRA, the list of abuses continues to grow. Let us know your experiences, maybe as a full-time freelance, contract worker, or occasional freelance or whatever, and in any field. We’ll add them to the pile.
 
 
Mike Harrison
ABSW/CRA

President's Update October 2014

Martin’s update

Welcome to the first in what I intend to be regular updates on what is happening within your Association.

The ABSW no longer has a regular newsletter and our website, google discussion group (ABSW-L) and twitter and Facebook accounts have taken over the role of the printed Science Reporter as the means by which we communicate with members.

However at the last meeting of the Board it was suggested that I should be letting members know of the Board’s activities and that this might best be done by direct contact through our direct mailing list.   So here goes…

New Board Member

Say hello to your latest Board member, Joshua Howgego, deputy news and opinions editor, SciDev.Net, who was co-opted to the Board at our meeting in September.   At our elections in March we did not fill all the vacant places on the Board so we were delighted that Joshua put himself forward to in his words, ‘represent the interests of early career journalists, especially in the not-for-profit sector.’

Creators’ Rights Alliance

The Creators' Rights Alliance brings together the major organisations representing copyright creators and content providers throughout the media.

The CRA campaigns to: Confront growing abuses of creators' rights in all media, particularly newspapers, magazines and broadcasting; defend and improve the intellectual property rights of creators belonging to the member organisations; Promote greater understanding of creators' intellectual property rights within the industry and among the public.

The ABSW is a member of the CRA and is represented on the CRA by ABSW member Mike Harrison.

Mike is in the process of writing an article on the current activities of the CRA for the ABSW website, the article will link to a form that members can use to provide anonymous feedback to Mike on issues they may have with intellectual property rights. Mike will then be able to better reflect the needs of science writers/broadcasters and journalists to the Alliance.

Future activities of the ABSW

The ABSW runs a small programme of events throughout the year.   Events this year to date have been the biennial UK Conference of Science Journalists, ABSW Awards Ceremony, the annual late Xmas party, an ABSW Panel debate on Investigative Journalism, and the AGM and post AGM members drinks.  Our next event is on Wednesday 29 Octoberas part of the Science Museum Lates, where Professor Sir Mark Walport, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor will be in conversation with ABSW Member and Channel 4 Science Correspondent Tom Clarke.

The Board has been considering how it can better meet the needs of all its members through events.   Moves are afoot to extend our reach outside of London to a programme of regional events.   We are also looking at the potential for a Summer School type event for students and/or early career science writers and journalists.  

To help us programme events that fit your interests and/or needs for skills development there is now a form on the ABSW website for you to feedback your ideas to us.   Your idea for an event can be as simple as a title or generalsubject area or can be much more fully formed with ideas for speakers/venues etc.   You don’t need to take an active role in organising any event you propose either, although volunteers are always welcome.   So do make the most of this new way of letting us know what events you would like to see programmed.

ABSW Awards

The Awards are now well and truly re-established, and we presented eleven awardsat our Ceremony in June this year.   The Awards are financially secure for a further two years as we have now signed an agreement for continued support with Janssen Research and Development.   A key part of this agreement is the introduction of a further Award for European Science Writer of the year, more will follow on this new Award but it will enable you to nominate your chosen British Science Writer of the Year to be judged against those nominated by the other science journalism associations throughout Europe.

As the year comes to a close it might also be a good time for you to reflect on your work over the past months in order to choose what you might enter for the Awards in the Spring.  

That is all from me for now but I will send a further update after our next Board meeting in November.  Of course if you have any feedback on this proposed regular President’s update then do get in touch through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All the best

 

Martin Ince, President, ABSW

 

 

ABSW Leaves EUSJA

Statement from the ABSW Board regarding EUSJA
 
The Association of British Science Writers has been a member of the European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations (EUSJA), for many years and pays an annual fee for its membership.  The ABSW is also a member of the World Federation of Science Journalists, the organisation behind the World Conference of Science Journalists that the ABSW held successfully in London in 2009.   The ABSW is keen to ensure that there is added value to its members from belonging to such international groups.
 
On March 27 2014 the board of the ABSW met and decided that the membership of EUSJA is no longer in the ABSW’s interests. EUSJA has been notified of this decision.
 
The ABSW is in discussion with some other European associations with the aim of forming a new European Federation of Science Journalism.
 
Martin Ince
President, on behalf of the ABSW Board
 

Winners Announced for 2014 Journalism Awards

The winners of the Association of British Science Writers Awards for Britain and Ireland 2014 were announced at an Awards ceremony tonight (Wednesday 18 June).  Speaking at the ceremony Martin Ince, President of the ABSW, said; ‘It was wonderful to see so many colleagues both old and new at the ABSW Awards Ceremony this evening and to celebrate all that is great about British and Irish science journalism and writing.  Support from Janssen Research and Development enabled us to re-establish our Awards in 2010, and we now offer ten awards including new awards this year for blogging and for student science publications.  We are particularly pleased to see such good representation from Irish journalists in the shortlists and winners, as the support from Janssen R & D enabled us to extend our Awards to Ireland. Next year we will be introducing a category of European Science Journalist of the Year to further expand our celebration of great science journalism to the rest of Europe. ’  
 
ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland - Winners
 
The best feature 
Winner:  Jessa Gamble, Researcher at Arup, for The End of Sleep? published by Aeon Magazine (online), 10-04-2013
Runners Up:
Stuart Clark, Freelance, for Ear on the Universe, published by New Scientist, 21-09-2013
Michael Le Page, Biology and environment editor at New Scientist, for The lowdown on the slowdown published by New Scientist, 07-12-2013
 
The best news item
Winner: Ian Sample, Science Correspondent, The Guardian, for US scientists boycott Nasa conference over China ban published by The Guardian, 05-10-2013
Runners Up:
Ewen Callaway, Senior Reporter, Nature for Deal done over HeLa cell line published by Nature 07-08-2013
Robin McKie, Science and Technology Editor, The Observer, for Gene Wars: the last ditch battle over who owns the rights to our DNA published by The Observer, 21-04-2013
 
The best scripted/edited television programme or online video:
Winner: Team Entry: Jacqueline Smith (Executive Producer, BBC Television and Series Producer), Nathan Budd (Producer), James Logan (Presenter), for Insect Dissection: How Insects Work broadcast BBC Four, 20-03-2013. The programme was a co-production between BBC Four and Discovery Science.
Runners Up:
Team Entry: Paul Olding (Writer/Producer/Director), Freelance and Michael Scott (Presenter/Writer), Historian, for The Mystery of Rome’s X Tombs broadcast BBC Two, 29-07-2013
Team Entry: Will Goodbody, Science and Technology Correspondent, RTÉ and Paul Deighan, RTÉ news cameraman, for Irish scientists at CERN’s cutting edge broadcast on Nationwide on RTÉ1, 18-10-2013
 
The Royal Society Radio Prize (NB: A prize for the best scripted/edited radio programme or podcast, supported by The Royal Society)
Winner: Team Entry: Anne McNaught (BBC Radio Scotland Producer) and Euan McIlwraith (Presenter) for Scotland’s Wildlife: Supporting Native Species, broadcast BBC Schools Radio, Scotland, 26-09-2013
Runners Up:
Team Entry: Alex Bellos (Writer/Research) and Andrew Luck-Baker (BBC Radio Producer) for Nirvana by Numbers broadcast BBC Radio 4, 07-10-2013
Team Entry: Kerri Smith (Audio Editor/Journalist, Nature) and Charlotte Stoddart (Audio Editor/Journalist, Nature), for Nature PastCast: May 1985, published by Nature Podcasts, 17-05-2013
 
The best investigative journalism
Winner: Team Entry: Mike Power (Writer), Bobbie Johnson (Editor), Kristen French (Fact checker), Tim Heffernan (Copy editor) for Uncontrolled Substances published by MATTER, 25-10-2013
Runners Up:
Alison Abbott, Senior European Correspondent at Nature for Italian Stem-Cell Trial based on flawed data published Nature News website, 02-07-2013
Steve Connor, Science Editor at the Independent for Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science published by the Independent, 25-01-2013
 
The NUJ Stephen White Award for best communication and reporting of science in a non science context.   This Award is made in memory of Stephen White, a highly influential science communicator who sadly died in 2010.   The Award is possible due to a donation from Stephen’s widow Elizabeth. 
Winner: Christopher White, freelance, for The complete guide to DNA for family historians published by Your Family Tree Magazine, 27-03-2013
Runners Up:
Team Entry: Michelle Martin (BBC Science Radio Producer), Tracey Logan (Presenter) for Technicolour broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30-01-2013
Team Entry: Will Goodbody, Science and Technology Correspondent, RTÉ and Paul Deighan, RTÉ news cameraman, for Irish scientists at CERN’s cutting edge broadcast Nationwide on RTÉ1, 18-10-2013
 
The best newcomer award
Winner: Joanne O’Dea, Freelance
Runners Up:
Melissa Hogenboom, Assistant Producer/Science reporter BBC
Jennifer Whyntie, Assistant Producer, BBC
 
The Good Thinking student science blog award supported by Good Thinking (new award for 2014):
Winner: Sarah Hearne, PhD student, Department of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin, for Sea Serpents off the Port Bow! Published by ecoevoblog.com, 01-11-2013
Runners Up:
Lauren Hoskin, MSc Science Communication, Imperial College London, for The changing flora of obesity, published by sciencesays.co.uk, 25-09-2013
Matthew Warren, DPhil Student, University of Oxford, for Synchrotrons, ships and sulphur: Using a particle accelerator to help conserve the Mary Rose, published by bangscience.org, 14-10-2013
 
The best science blog award (new award for 2014)
Joint winners:
Not Exactly Rocket Science (Individual Entry) Ed Yong. Published by National Geographic
&
Cancer Research UK Science Blog (Team Entry) Editorial Team: Henry Scowcroft, Kat Arney, Oliver Childs, Nick Peel. Published by Cancer Research UK
Runner Up:
Head Quarters (Team Entry) Core Bloggers: Chris Chambers, Molly Crockett, Pete Etchells, Thalia Gjersoe. Published by The Guardian
 
The IOP student science publication award supported by IOP Publishing and the Institute of Physics (new award for 2014) NB: This award provides prize money for a winner and a runner up
Winner: Women Rock Science (online publication). Editor, Hadiza Mohammed
Runner Up: theGIST, printed magazine (University of Strathclyde & University of Glasgow). Team Entry: Editors: Timothy Revell, Emilie Steinmark, Alan Boyd 
Shortlisted: Spark Magazine, printed magazine (University of York). Team Entry: Will Ingram (Editor), Matt Ravenhall (Editor), Ellen Rawlins (Photography Editor), Tree Jervis (Web Editor), Jess Wynn (Content Editor)
 
Life Time Achievement Award
Lawrence McGinty, ITV News’ Science & Medical Editor
Lawrence is an award-winning journalist who has long-been viewed as an exemplar for science and health reporting, covering even the most controversial and difficult subjects in an informative, critical, entertaining and knowledgeable manner. The scientific community was saddened to learn he is retiring this year as he has truly had a profound impact, navigating his way through scientific milestones, international disasters, clinical trials, and a flood  of hyperbole, all the while promoting excellence not just in science journalism, but in journalism in general. Excerpt from the statement supporting Lawrence’s nomination.
 
The ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2014 attracted nearly 200 entries.  An independent panel of science journalists and science communicators judged the entries based on originality, appeal to a broad audience, novelty of subject matter, likely impact, style, content, entertainment, balance and depth of reporting. 
 
Award winners will receive a certificate and a small cash prize and enter the ABSW hall of fame that includes previous Award winners Sir David Attenborough, Sir John Maddox (Nature), and Judith Hann (BBC Tomorrow’s World).
 
The Awards Ceremony took place at The Royal Society, London after the ABSW’s biennial conference the UK Conference of Science Journalists.
Full details of the rules and regulations for the awards and a full list of judges can be found at http://www.absw.org.uk/jobs-awards/awards
 
ENDS 
For further information contact:
Sallie Robins – ABSW Awards Administrator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
07733 330344
 
Notes for editors:  
 
Association of British Science Writers (ABSW)
Founded in 1947, the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) exists to help those who write about science, health and technology, and to improve the standard of science journalism in the UK. The ABSW is an association which includes science writers, journalists and broadcasters and that promotes the highest standards of journalism and writing by encouraging investigation and creativity.   www.absw.org.uk @absw https://www.facebook.com/pages/Association-of-British-Science-Writers-ABSW/
Where permitted by the entrant and or publisher, copies of the shortlisted articles/broadcasts are available at www.absw.org.uk 
 
About Janssen
At Janssen Research & Development, we are united and energized by one mission - to discover and develop innovative medicines that ease patient’s suffering, and solve the most important unmet medical needs of our time. 
As one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, our strategy is to identify the biggest unmet medical needs and match them with the best science, internal or external, to find solutions for patients worldwide. We leverage our world-class discovery and development expertise, and operational excellence, to bring innovative, effective treatments in five therapeutic areas: 
• cardiovascular and metabolism 
• immunology 
• infectious diseases and vaccines 
• neuroscience 
• oncology 
We think of the world as our laboratory and we look for innovation wherever it exists. This drives our relentless search for the best science, and our pursuit of collaborations and partnerships. We believe there are no limits to what science can do. And we never lose sight of those who rely most on our discoveries. www.janssenrnd.com   
 
About the Institute of Physics – www.iop.org
The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application. 
 
About IOP Publishing – ioppublishing.org
IOP Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Institute of Physics. It provides a range of journals, conference proceedings, magazines, websites, books and other services that enable researchers and research organisations to achieve the biggest impact for their work.
 
The Royal Society
The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.
 
The Society’s strategic priorities emphasise its commitment to the highest quality science, to curiosity-driven research, and to the development and use of science for the benefit of society. 
 
These priorities are:
1.       Promoting science and its benefits
2.       Recognising excellence in science
3.       Supporting outstanding science
4.       Providing scientific advice for policy
5.       Fostering international and global cooperation
6.       Education and public engagement
 
For further information please visit http://royalsociety.org Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at http://twitter.com/royalsociety or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/theroyalsociety
 
UK Conference of Science Journalists (UKCSJ14)
A full day of discussion and debate for up to 300 journalists, with three key aims: 
 
To discuss and debate contemporary issues in science journalism
To encourage and provide skills for newcomers
To promote professional development
 
The full programme and registration details can be found at the Conference website www.ukcsj.org
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Shortlist announced for 2014 ABSW Science Writers' Awards

Association of British Science Writers - Shortlist Announced for 2014 Journalism Awards

The judging panel has met and decided the shortlists for the Association of British Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2014.

Connie St Louis, Chair of the Judging Panel and Programme Director, MA Science Journalism, City University, London, said: "Since receiving support from Janssen Research and Development to re-establish our Awards in 2010, they have gone from strength to strength. The number of categories for entry has doubled from five to ten over the past five years, with new awards this year for blogging and student science publications. Next year we will be introducing a category of European Science Journalist of the Year to further expand our celebration of great science journalism to the rest of Europe."

The winners will be announced at the ABSW Science Writers' Awards Ceremony on 18th June in London, following the ABSW’s biennial UK Conference of Science Journalists.

Best feature 

Stuart Clark, Freelance for Ear on the Universe, published by New Scientist, 21-09-2013

Jessa Gamble, Researcher at Arup for The End of Sleep? published by Aeon Magazine (online), 10-04-2013

Michael Le Page, Biology and environment editor at New Scientist for The lowdown on the slowdown published by New Scientist, 07-12-2013

Best news item

Ewen Callaway, Senior Reporter, Nature, for Deal done over HeLa cell line published by Nature 07-08-2013

Robin McKie, Science and Technology Editor, The Observer, for Gene Wars: the last ditch battle over who owns the rights to our DNA published by The Observer, 21-04-2013

Ian Sample, Science Correspondent, The Guardian, for US scientists boycott Nasa conference over China ban published by The Guardian, 05-10-2013

The best scripted/edited television programme or online video

Team Entry: Paul Olding (Writer/Producer/Director), Freelance and Michael Scott (Presenter/Writer), Historian, for The Mystery of Rome’s X Tombs broadcast BBC Two, 29-07-2013

Team Entry: Will Goodbody, Science and Technology Correspondent, RTÉ and Paul Deighan, RTÉ news cameraman, for Irish scientists at CERN’s cutting edge broadcast on Nationwide on RTÉ1, 18-10-2013

Team Entry: Jacqueline Smith (Executive Producer, BBC Television and Series Producer), Nathan Budd (Producer), James Logan (Presenter), for Insect Dissection: How Insects Work broadcast BBC Four, 20-03-2013. The programme was a co-production between BBC Four and Discovery Science.

The Royal Society Radio Prize

(NB: A prize for the best scripted/edited radio programme or podcast, supported by The Royal Society):

Team Entry: Alex Bellos (Writer/Research) and Andrew Luck-Baker (BBC Radio Producer) for Nirvana by Numbers broadcast BBC Radio 4, 07-10-2013

Team Entry: Anne McNaught (BBC Radio Scotland Producer) and Euan McIlwraith (Presenter) for Scotland’s Wildlife: Supporting Native Species, broadcast BBC Schools Radio, Scotland, 26-09-2013

Team Entry: Kerri Smith (Audio Editor/Journalist, Nature) and Charlotte Stoddart (Audio Editor/Journalist, Nature), for Nature PastCast: May 1985, published by Nature Podcasts, 17-05-2013

Best investigative journalism

Alison Abbott, Senior European Correspondent at Nature for Italian Stem-Cell Trial based on flawed data published Nature News website, 02-07-2013

Steve Connor, Science Editor at the Independent for Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science published by the Independent, 25-01-2013

Team Entry: Mike Power (Writer), Bobbie Johnson (Editor), Kristen French (Fact checker), Tim Heffernan (Copy editor) for Uncontrolled Substances published by MATTER, 25-10-2013

The NUJ Stephen White Award for best communication and reporting of science in a non-science context

This Award is made in memory of Stephen White a highly influential science communicator who sadly died in 2010.   The Award is possible due to a donation from Stephen’s widow Elizabeth.

Team Entry: Michelle Martin (BBC Science Radio Producer), Tracey Logan (Presenter) for Technicolour broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30-01-2013

Team Entry: Will Goodbody, Science and Technology Correspondent, RTÉ and Paul Deighan, RTÉ news cameraman, for Irish scientists at CERN’s cutting edge broadcast Nationwide on RTÉ1, 18-10-2013

Christopher White, freelance, for The complete guide to DNA for family historians published by Your Family Tree Magazine, 27-03-2013

Best newcomer

Melissa Hogenboom, Assistant Producer/Science reporter BBC. Read Melissa's articles here:

Joanne O’Dea, Formerly of ScienceBusiness currently Freelance

Jennifer Whyntie, Assistant Producer, BBC.  Listen to programmes in which Jennifer had a role from researcher to producer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016btdk 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rvpq1  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01d5p5r 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01kmy67

The Good Thinking student science blog

supported by Good Thinking (new award for 2014)

Sarah Hearne, PhD student, Department of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin, for Sea Serpents off the Port Bow! Published by ecoevoblog.com, 01-11-2013

Lauren Hoskin, MSc Science Communication, Imperial College London, for The changing flora of obesity, published by sciencesays.co.uk, 25-09-2013

Matthew Warren, DPhil Student, University of Oxford, for Synchrotrons, ships and sulphur: Using a particle accelerator to help conserve the Mary Rose, published by bangscience.org, 14-10-2013

Best science blog

(new award for 2014)

Not Exactly Rocket Science (Individual Entry) Ed Yong. Published by National Geographic

Cancer Research UK Science Blog (Team Entry) Editorial Team: Henry Scowcroft, Kat Arney, Oliver Childs, Nick Peel. Published by Cancer Research UK

Head Quarters (Team Entry) Core Bloggers: Chris Chambers, Molly Crockett, Pete Etchells, Thalia Gjersoe. Published by The Guardian

The IOP student science publication award supported by IOP Publishing and the Institute of Physics (new award for 2014):

theGIST, printed magazine (University of Strathclyde & University of Glasgow). Editors: Timothy Revell, Emilie Steinmark, Alan Boyd 

Spark Magazine, printed magazine (University of York). Team Entry: Will Ingram (Editor), Matt Ravenhall (Editor), Ellen Rawlins (Photography Editor), Tree Jervis (Web Editor), Jess Wynn (Content Editor)

Women Rock Science (online publication). Editor, Hadiza Mohammed

Life Time Achievement Award

There is no short list for the Award as ABSW members nominate and the ABSW Board decides upon the winner. The winner will be announced at the Awards Ceremony.

The ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2014 attracted nearly 200 entries.  An independent panel of science journalists and science communicators judged the entries based on originality, appeal to a broad audience, novelty of subject matter, likely impact, style, content, entertainment, balance and depth of reporting.

Award winners will receive a certificate and a small cash prize and enter the ABSW hall of fame that includes previous award winners Sir David Attenborough, Sir John Maddox (Nature) and Judith Hann (BBC Tomorrow’s World).

Full details of the rules and regulations for the awards and a full list of judges can be found at http://www.absw.org.uk/jobs-awards/awards

Notes:

About the Institute of Physics – www.iop.org

The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

About IOP Publishing – ioppublishing.org

IOP Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Institute of Physics. It provides a range of journals, conference proceedings, magazines, websites, books and other services that enable researchers and research organisations to achieve the biggest impact for their work.

The Royal Society

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Society’s strategic priorities emphasise its commitment to the highest quality science, to curiosity-driven research, and to the development and use of science for the benefit of society.

These priorities are:

  • Promoting science and its benefits
  • Recognising excellence in science
  • Supporting outstanding science
  • Providing scientific advice for policy
  • Fostering international and global cooperation
  • Education and public engagement

For further information visit http://royalsociety.org
Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at http://twitter.com/royalsociety or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/theroyalsociety

UK Conference of Science Journalists (UKCSJ14)

A full day of discussion and debate for up to 300 journalists, with three key aims:

  • To discuss and debate contemporary issues in science journalism
  • To encourage and provide skills for newcomers
  • To promote professional development

The full programme and registration details can be found at the Conference website www.ukcsj.org

ABSW AGM 2014 - Agenda

ABSW AGM AGENDA 2014
 
Date and time: Thu 27 March 2014 19:00 onwards
 
Venue: The Science Museum's Dana Centre, 165 Queen's Gate, South Kensington, London, SW7 5HD
http://www.danacentre.org.uk/aboutus/location
 
 
Invited: All ABSW members 
 
NB: Only full and life members and the Honorary President may vote. Quorum for the meeting is 10 voting members
 
1 Apologies for Absence
 
 
3 Matters Arising
 
4 President’s Report
Connie St Louis/Martin Ince
 
Harriet Bailey
 
6 Auditors' Report
Pete Wrobel/Michael Kenward
 
7 Election of Executive Board
Martin Ince
 
All posts on the Executive Board are elected annually at the AGM. This is the first year in which the Board has run its election process on line. In accordance with the Standing Orders nominations opened on 27 January 2014 and closed on 17 February 2014.  The following individuals stood for election:
 
Martin Ince – President
Connie St Louis – European Representative
Harriet Bailey – Treasurer
Beki Hill/Mico Tatalovic/Wendy Grossman/Katherine Sanderson – general post on the Board (7 maximum available)
 
There are therefore no contested posts and no candidates for Vice President or Secretary.  There is no specific guidance in the Standing Orders on procedure where posts are not contested or no nominations received.   The Executive Board agreed the following procedure and this was approved by the appointed election tellers (Andy Coughlan/John Bonner)
 
Action Taken/Required:
Details of the nominations were placed on the ABSW website earlier this month and the AGM is now asked to ratify these individuals to comprise the new Executive Board.  At the first meeting of the new Executive Board after this AGM the Board will consider co-opting individuals to cover vacant posts 
 
The ABSW would like to express its thanks to those who have now left the Executive Board: Julia Durbin (Secretary), Jeremy Webb (Vice President), Mun Keat Looi, Helen Pearson, Matt Ravenhall.   The ABSW would also like to thank the appointed tellers who oversaw the election John Bonner and Andy Coghlan.
 
8 Appointment of Auditors 
Martin Ince
 
The AGM are asked to approve the appointment of the auditors for the financial year 2014. 
(NB: Auditors for 2013 were Pete Wrobel and Sunny Bains.   Sunny Bains resigned in March 2014 and Michael Kenward agreed to act as auditor)    
 
9 Appointment of Honorary President
Martin Ince
 
The AGM are asked to approve the re-appointment of Professor Colin Blakemore as Honorary President of the ABSW for a further term of three years.
 
10 Appointment of Life Members 
Martin Ince
 
The AGM are asked to approve the following individuals for Life Membership:
 
Connie St Louis (Former Treasurer & President) 
Natasha Loder (Former President)
Peter Cooper (Secretary from 1980 to 1984; Auditor from 1989 to 2013)
Peter Briggs (Secretary, Treasurer and Auditor over a period of 25 years from 1986 until 2011)
 
11 Any Other Business
 
12 Date of Next AGM - March 2015
 

ABSW Executive Board Elections: Candidates 2014

Nominations for the Executive Board 2014

The following nominations have been received (by clicking on each individual you will be taken to their supporting statements and details of their nominators):
 
Martin Ince – President
 
Connie St Louis – European Representative
 
Harriet Bailey – Treasurer
 
Board Member (up to seven posts available):
 
 
 
 
 
None of the above posts are therefore contested and there are no candidates for the posts of Vice President or Secretary.  There is no specific guidance in the ABSW Standing Orders regarding procedure where posts are not contested nor nominations received, however the current Executive Board and the appointed Election Tellers, have agreed that the nominations should be presented to the AGM to be ratified.   They have then agreed that at the first meeting of the new Executive Board, after the AGM, the Board will consider how best to fill the vacant posts of Vice President and Secretary, either from the existing Board members or by co-opting Board members.
 
Details of the election proceedure 2014 are here.
 
For queries regarding the elections or the AGM please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Martin Ince

 
Nominators: Connie St Louis/Harriet Bailey
 
I have been a member of the ABSW most of my life, and a member of its board or executive since 2001. In terms of posts held, I was treasurer for seven years and became president when Connie St Louis stepped down in January this year. I am grateful to Connie for the great shape in which the ABSW finds itself, and for her current support for my candidacy. As your treasurer, I was finance director of the World Conference of Science Journalists in London in 2009. The surplus from this event has transformed the financial position of the ABSW, and has allowed us to launch activities such as the UK Conference of Science Journalists. I am a member of the World Federation’s finance and development committee. The profession of science writing is of growing importance in the UK and around the world. My aim as president would be to encourage new ways of enhancing our skills, and the esteem in which our members are held. Who knows? The result might even be better-paid science writers. My work is international and I am especially keen to encourage our two-way learning with colleagues in the developing world. But there are also steps we can take to make things easier for science writers in the UK, such as adding to the roster of publishers whose journals our members can access in advance, and by growing the number and scope of our professional development events. I would aim as president to be responsive to the needs of our members as new priorities arise, which they inevitably will given the rapid pace at which communications needs and habits are changing. I want the ABSW to be a visible participant in forming the new science writing landscape. It is an immense honour to be president of the ABSW, and I would very much like your support to continue in the post for a proper term of office. There’s more about me at www.martinince.eu.  
 

Connie St Louis

Nominators: Martin Ince/Beki Hill
 
I have served on the board of the ABSW for the last four years, first as the Treasurer and then as the President.  During this time I am proud to have overseen the overhaul of the governance of the ABSW, including the transition to being a limited company, and to be leaving the association in excellent good financial and organizational shape. I have decided to resign as President in order to complete a PhD, which will demand a large input of my time and attention over in the next six months. There is, however, important unfinished governance work still to be completed in Europe, which I am asking for your support to complete over the coming months.
 

Mico Tatalovic

Nominators: Richa Malhotra/Josh Howgego
 
In my two years on the board, I have commissioned and edited news stories for the website, helped redesign the website, instigated the launch the new student science publication awards, and organised a student science magazine stand at the UKCSJ2012.  I have campaigned for a more open and rational use of ABSW funds: by freezing a large portion of them in a savings account and using the interest to fund activities for members, e.g. travel grants. I have also campaigned for more members-polling on issues such as setting up new grants to see what the members would like to see the association do for them. I voted for more support to members, for example for ABSW to subsidise EUSJA grants so they are cost-free to members, and for fellowships to attend the WCSJ in Helsinki. I am sorry that these did not go through, despite ABSW being in a comfortable position where it could offer more kickbacks to its members.  I have also advocated for a better international integration, with our twinned organisation in Uganda and the European EUSJA, whose membership we pay into.  Currently, I am working on draft policy on how to respond to pitches from special-interest donors wishing to start new science-writing prizes. 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 more prudent use of resources, by actually increasing spending but on activities members call for.  
 

Wendy Grossman

Nominators: Martin Ince/Mico Tatalovic
 
I've been on the committee/board for some years. Since my journalism specialty is anything to do with the Internet (policy or technology), my primary function and the reason I was originally drafted onto it is to help with technical matters regarding the ABSW's use of IT (including the Web site, social media, etc.) I believe my secondary function is to ask pesky questions. For a bio, credits, and links to samples of my work, please see my Web site, www.pelicancrossing.net.
 

Katharine Sanderson

Nominators: Mark Peplow/Richard Van Noorden
 
I’m a freelancer, having previously been on staff at Nature and Chemistry World, and would like to be more closely involved with the science writing community by joining the board of the ABSW as a general member. I hope that I’d be able to represent a broad group of writers, including those who like me are enjoying the freedom of working for themselves outside the confines of London: both things that whilst invigorating also bring with them challenges.   If elected, I would support the general activities of the board in whatever way I can. There are some specific areas that I’d like to address given the chance.  Freelance rates are an area of concern and I would like to help ABSW keep a closer eye on them, and if appropriate go some way to addressing the unsustainable direction in which they seem to be headed.   As a new mother, I’d also like to think of ways that ABSW can support other working parents – perhaps by simply offering an ear or advice to those who might feel overwhelmed, or by organising a range of other more ambitious initiatives.   My experience as a writer is wide-ranging, and has involved most recently establishing a successful and varied freelance career whilst spending large chunks of time outside the UK. Previously I tackled the demands of daily news and in-depth features at Nature, and editing and writing news and features on the small team at Chemistry World. My education was largely science-focussed: I have a BSc and PhD in chemistry and learned my journalism skills on-the-job.  I have spent time mentoring new writers, and given advice to researchers about dealing with the media. I hope that my experience will allow me to relate to a broad sweep of the ABSW membership and make me a valuable member of the ABSW executive board.
 

Harriet Bailey

Nominators: Martin Ince/Connie St Louis
 
I have been Treasurer of the ABSW for the past year, taking over from Jacob Aron's sterling work in January 2013. In that time we have, as a Board and with advice from our accountants, streamlined the accounts and made them more comprehensible for the auditors and members so that it's clear where the ABSW funds are coming from and being spent.  There is still more to do to further consolidate the accounts so that they are comparable to previous years and I hope to be able to help the ABSW achieve this over the next year. I've learnt a great deal about how an organisation works through being involved on the Board and what is necessary for the smooth operation of the finances. Along with the Bookkeeper, we have a simple and effective system for checking and processing transactions.  I've been a member of the ABSW for three years since my Science Journalism MA at City University and am a freelance Researcher for science television. The ABSW is a great organisation to be part of and I am grateful for the opportunity I've had over the past year to meet so many successful and inspiring science writers from across the country.
 

Beki Hill

Nominators: Penny Sarchet/Mun-Keat Looi
 
I am a current member of the board, and have responsibility for organising events for the ABSW. I have been a member of the ABSW since 2010, when I was a student on the City University science journalism course. I now write about science policy and research funding at Research Fortnight and Research Europe magazines. As a general board member, I hope to represent the younger generation of reporters.  In my role as events organiser, I have organised a number of events, including 'In conversation with John Beddington' as part of the Science Museum Lates, and the UKCSJ 'Dragon's Den' pitching session. I believe I have the necessary skills in planning and event organising to continue in this position, and if I am re-elected, I would like to establish a more regular series of ABSW events, something I am already working towards. I'd like the ABSW board to work more closely with its members, and would be very happy to hear members' thoughts and suggestions on future events or topics. I'd also like to see more engagement with specialist reporters across the country, and am keen to think about events that are less London-centric.
 
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