ABSW News

Martin’s Update

January 2015

Here is my regular update on the issues discussed at our latest ABSW Board meeting:

Membership of the ABSW

It’s that time of year again when we ask you to renew your membership.   Many thanks to those of you who have already renewed. At the end of January we will update our records and send confirmation of membership to you all, and a friendly reminder to those who have yet to pay.

Membership of the ABSW is the sign that you are a serious member of this profession, and lets you connect to other science journalists, writers and communications professionals  as well as to events and to training and work opportunities.  Nearly 100 new members joined last year. I do hope you will renew your membership, and take an active part in your association this year. 

ABSW Board Elections

One way to become more involved is to consider standing for the ABSW Board.   Nominations are now open until 23 February for Board membership and for our various officer posts.   I have already thrown my hat in the ring to stand for a further term as President.   Full details of the posts available, the responsibilities and likely workload are all on the website along with links to the nomination form.   So do please consider joining the Board in 2015. You don’t have to be in London for the meetings. We have finally managed to get Skype and other technology for remote participation.  http://www.absw.org.uk/about-us/executive-board-election-process-2014.html

Sexism in Science Journalism

Last year the ABSW commissioned research into the issue of sexism in science journalism.   The subject was also discussed in the opening plenary session of last year’s UK Conference of Science Journalists.   Video, audio and reviews of this session are all available in our UKCSJ archive, http://www.ukcsj.org/edition-2014/sexism-in-science-plenary.html  The Board is eagerly awaiting the final report from this research in order to assess what actions might be usefully taken by the ABSW, in conjunction with bodies such as the NUJ, to tackle sexism in science journalism.

Investigative Science Journalism

The Board developed and promoted an Investigative Science Journalism Fellowship scheme last year, and put aside funds to pay for it. So we were disappointed to find that no applications were received.   Connie St Louis has been exploring why, and will soon be publishing an article on the issue that will let us promote the more scheme widely.  For further details and to apply, please visit the website: http://www.absw.org.uk/news-and-events/absw-news/absw-investigative-science-journalism-fellowship.html

ABSW Summer School

The ABSW is planning a summer school on Thursday 25 June at the Royal Society to provide skills training and networking opportunities for people starting out in the business.   Summer school is intended to fill the gap between our biennial UK Conference of Science Journalists with a skills-based and practical event in the intervening year.  It is at the planning stages and if you have any thoughts on useful content for it, do please contact Sallie Robins who is drawing up the programme in consultation with the Board.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Cards for ABSW members

The ABSW is finally making progress towards issuing members with press credentials via one of a number of official issuers.   Many of you already have such credentials gained through your employer or the NUJ, but other members have told us that an ABSW card would be extremely valuable to them.  I am working with Board member Wendy Grossman and the UK Press Card Authority to determine costs and processes for ABSW members to receive this benefit, and will keep you updated on progress.

Key Dates:

Saturday 31 January – membership fees for 2015 should have been paid

Wednesday 11 February – ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland open for entry

Monday 23 February - nominations for ABSW Board close

Friday 27 February – nominations close for British candidate for European Science Writer of the Year

Week beginning 2 March 2015 – online voting for contested Board posts commences

Wednesday 18 March - ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland close for entry

Thursday 26 March – AGM venue tbc (London)

For more on all these, visit our website www.absw.org.uk. And while there, don’t forget to transplant the ABSW button to your own corner of cyberspace. Even with my html skills, it only took a moment, and it looks great.

 

Best wishes,

Martin Ince

President of the ABSW

 

 

 

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 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 
 
 
An invite has been sent to all members.   If you can make it do RSVP.
 
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
 

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