about us

ABSW Mission, Vision, FAQ; Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders; Democracy and Decision Making, and Auditors

Mission

We champion independence and excellence in the reporting of science, medicine, engineering and technology.

Vision

For science and technology to truly benefit society they need to be clearly communicated but also held accountable.

We need both explanatory and investigative journalists who are free to report clearly, accurately and to the highest professional standards: journalists who are independent, honest and unbiased, and who are not afraid to challenge the information they are given.

The ABSW strives to help create  a world where this is the norm, where media professionals are free to responsibly and critically report on any aspect of science, to do so openly and safely, and to be paid fairly for their work.

We want to help build a society that encourages and values open, independent, objective and fair assessment of science and its role in society, and rewards diversity, originality and flair in reporting.

FAQs

Who are we?

We are an association for media professionals who cover science, medicine, environment, mathematics, engineering and technology.

See our Members' Directory

What do we do?

We train and support journalists and writers at all stages of their careers.

We organise conferences, summer schools and awards, in addition to a range of networking, training and debating events.

We help our members to become more visible to potential employers and to find work through our online members’ directory and jobs listings. We provide resources such as an online mentoring scheme, freelance pay survey, business guides, free access to journals, and discounts on events and resources.

We also speak out on behalf of science journalists in support of press and academic freedoms when needed.

Who should join us?

ABSW membership is for anyone who writes, edits, sub-edits, produces or presents media content on science, medicine, environment, mathematics, engineering or technology, be it in trade press, mass media or elsewhere.

This includes science reporters, editors, sub-editors, producers and broadcasters as full members, as well as students, academics, press officers and other types of science writers as associate members.

We are based in the UK, but our membership is open to people living and working abroad, too.

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Why do we exist?

We are dedicated to supporting the professional development of experienced writers as well as training future generations of journalists to provide society with accurate and unbiased assessment of scientific research and its applications.

This includes exploring new and better ways of presenting media content and generating revenue from journalism, such as through multimedia and digital innovations, while also preserving the best practices from traditional journalism.

Through debates, events, discussion groups and awards, we help to create links among everyone involved in producing science media content, from academics and press officers to reporters, editors and presenters.

We enable these professionals to network and debate, and help them find new work opportunities.

What is the history of the ABSW?

Founded in 1947, the ABSW has provided science journalists with networking, training and opportunities for over 70 years.

It has recognised and celebrated the best work through its annual awards for journalists at every stage of their careers, from newcomers to veterans.

It has organised major events such as the World Conference of Science Journalists in 2009, the European Conference of Science Journalists in 2016, and the biennial UK Conference of Science Journalists and Science Journalism Summer School.

The ABSW has also campaigned on behalf of science journalists, fighting for their right to report freely, and for press and academic freedoms in the UK.

Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders

In 2010 the ABSW became a company limited by guarantee. The ABSW is run in accordance with, and must adhere to its stated Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders.  The Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders can only be amended at the Annual General Meeting.

ABSW Democracy and Decision Making

The ABSW is managed by an Executive Board comprising a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer (who are also Directors of the company) and a European Representative (who may be the President), plus up to seven other members elected at the AGM, and up to four co-opted members.   The AGM also appoints an Honorary President who needs to be considered for re-appointment every three years.   At the AGM two auditors are also appointed to oversee the work of the Executive Board on behalf of the members (see next section).   The Executive Board is required to meet at least six times per year.

Executive Board members are elected annually for a term of one year and take up office immediately after the AGM. The President and the Vice- President may hold office for no more than three consecutive years.  There are no restrictions on how long other Board members may hold office.  Find out more about the current committee
 
Elections for the Executive Board take place annually and any full member of the ABSW may stand for election. Full and life members may then vote in the election. In past years a vote took place at the AGM, however, from 2014 onwards the ABSW will organise an 'online' nominations and voting process to enable all members to take part.   The results will then be announced and ratified at the AGM.
 
For full details of the nomination and election process please see further details contained in the members only part of the ABSW website - you will be prompted to login to the site to read this article.
 
Auditors
 
The auditors elected at the AGM are ABSW members, not audit professionals. Their role is to act on behalf of the members and to reassure them of the governance, management and financial base of the ABSW. In particular, they should
 
(a) assure the members that the accounts that the Treasurer presents at the AGM are a fair record of the Association’s finances;
(b) ensure that the procedures followed and strategies put in place by the Executive Board are appropriate to protect the Association and its finances; and
(c) report on these issues to the AGM.*
 
The auditors’ terms of reference are to act as ‘internal auditors’ addressing the ABSW’s accounts but also membership trends and strategies, significant long-term changes in income and expenditure, procedures for decision-making and financial authorisation, and capacity for addressing future challenges.   
 
Their report is specifically not the type of audit that would be required by Companies House if the need for an audit were written into the Articles or if one were required as a result of the Association’s turnover.
 
The Association's statutory accounts submitted to Companies House are prepared by professional accountants. The auditors are not expected to redo the accountants' work, but will wish to assure themselves that the statutory accounts are correct and match the figures presented at the AGM. 
 
They should sign off (and provide a report if necessary) on the income and expenditure account for the year and the year-end balances, as presented by the Treasurer.

Getting in touch

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