The Association of British Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2012 were presented at a ceremony held at the Royal Society in London last night (Monday 25 June). The Ceremony followed the second UK Conference of Science Journalists. Commenting on the Awards Connie St Louis, President of the ABSW said:  ‘This year there was an extremely strong field of entries in most categories.  Hard work for the panel of judges, but a clear indication of British and Irish science journalism at its best.”

However, there was one exception, within the investigative journalism category the judges decided one entry stood head and shoulders above the rest, with the other entries not meeting their basic criteria for an investigation.  There was no shortlist for this category, just one winner.

At the Awards Ceremony Connie St Louis announced a new ABSW initiative for investigative science journalism. ‘The ABSW is developing and seeking funding for an investigative journalism fellowship that will enable science journalists to take time away from their desks to carry out detailed investigations. The Association is also looking at a specific training and networking event to develop investigative journalism skills and allow individuals to meet others who they can work with on investigations.’

The winners:

Best news item

Angela Saini, Freelance.  The formula for justice published in The Guardian 03-10-11

Best feature

Helen Pearson, Chief Features Editor, Nature. Study of a lifetime published in Nature 01-03-11

Best scripted/edited television programme or online video

After life: The strange science of decay. Broadcast on BBC 4 on 06-12-11. Team Entry: George McGavin, Presenter; Fred Hepburn, Producer/Director; Marcus Herbert, Executive Producer

The Royal Society Radio Prize - A prize for the best scripted/edited radio programme or podcast

Hearing the past broadcast BBC Radio 4 on 12-09-11. Individual Entry: Jane Reck, Freelance

Best investigative journalism

Steve Connor, Science Editor, The Independent. Big tobacco exposed published in The Independent 01-09-11

Richard Gregory Award for Best newcomer

James Poskett, Freelance reporter

New for 2012: The NUJ Stephen White Award for best communication of science in a non science context

Ed Yong, Freelance. How do our bacteria help us?   Broadcast on Four Thought, BBC Radio 4 19/10/2011

Lifetime Achievement Award

David Dickson, Editor SciDev.net

The ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2012 attracted nearly 160 entries.  An independent panel of science journalists and science communicators chaired by the President of the ABSW Connie St Louis, 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. The awards are sponsored by Janssen Research and Development a division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.

Award winners received 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 shortlists, rules and regulations, and a full list of judges can be found at http://www.absw.org.uk/jobs-awards/awards

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