ABSW Science Writers' Awards Shortlist Announced
After an all day judging meeting on Wednesday 30th June the shortlists for the ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland have been decided. The winners in all categories will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday 23 July in London, where an award for lifetime achievement in science journalism will also be made.
ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2010 Shortlist
Best news item
Linda Geddes, Reporter, New Scientist, for ‘What if you had to decide in your 20s: A gene test available next year could tell women how long they can put off having children.’ Published in New Scientist.
Mark Henderson, Science Editor, The Times, for ‘Stem-cell hope for paralysed patients: Trials on human beings given the go-ahead in new ruling.’ Published in The Times.
Robin McKie, Science Editor, The Observer, for ‘The most dangerous place in Europe: Last week the government announced plans for a new generation of nuclear plants. But Britain is still dealing with the legacy of its first nuclear installation at Sellafield – a terrifyingly toxic waste dump in ‘the most hazardous building in Europe’.’ Published in The Observer.
John Travis, Europe News Editor, Science Magazine, for ‘Scientists Decry "Flawed" and "Horrifying" Nationality Tests: Scientists are greeting with surprise and dismay a project to use DNA and isotope analysis of tissue from asylum seekers to evaluate their nationality and help decide who can enter the United Kingdom.’ Published in Science.
Leo Hickman, Features, The Guardian for ‘Fake: WIRED meets the Dutch scientists racing to make in vitro meat the next billion-dollar industry.’ Published in WIRED.
Robin McKie, Science Editor, The Observer, for ‘Breathing lessons: This is what Emma Lake has to take every day to stay alive. But now a team of British scientists is on the verge of a evolutionary treatment that could extend her life by decades.’ Published in The Observer Magazine.
Helen Pearson, Chief Features Editor, Nature, for ‘One gene, twenty years: When the cystic fibrosis gene was found in 1989, therapy seemed around the corner. Two decades on, biologists still have a long way to go.’ Published in Nature.
Angela Saini, Freelance, for ‘Guilty: People are being jailed after lie-detecting brain scans find them guilty.’ Published in WIRED.
Best scripted/edited programme (podcast, radio, TV or online video)
Geraldine Fitzgerald, Producer, Sue Broom, Presenter, BBC (team entry), for ‘The Naming of Genes’ broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Richard Hollingham, Freelance, and John Watkins, BBC, (team entry), for ‘Frontiers: bioprecipitation’ broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Paul Olding, Producer/Director, Chris Granlund, Series Producer, Andrew Marr, Presenter, BBC (team entry), for ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Life and Death’ broadcast on BBC 2 TV
Nick Jordan, Producer/Director, Adam Rutherford, Presenter, Jaqueline Smith, Series Producer, BBC (team entry), for ‘The Cell’ a BBC Scotland Production broadcast on BBC 4 TV
Best investigative journalism
Peter Aldhous, San Francisco Bureau Chief, New Scientist, for ‘How My Genome Was Hacked: If a New Scientist reporter’s DNA is vulnerable, so is yours.’ Published in New Scientist.
Deborah Cohen, Assistant Editor, BMJ, Philip Carter, Producer, freelance, Tom Clarke, Reporter, Channel 4 (team entry), for ‘Complications: tracking down the data on oseltamivir. A Cochrane group’s attempt to reproduce an analysis underpinning the use of oseltamivir in pandemic influenza hit a brick wall.’ Published in the BMJ.
Brian Deer, Freelance, for ‘Hidden records show MMR truth: A Sunday Times investigation has found that altered data was behind the decade-long scare over vaccination.’ Published in The Sunday Times.
Jacob Aron, Freelance
Helen Thomson, Biomedical news editor, New Scientist
Colin Stuart, Freelance
The ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland attracted over 150 entries. An independent panel of scientist and journalist judges chaired by Colin Blakemore FMedSci FRS Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, 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 judges did a tremendous job at arguing their way to the shortlist’, said Blakemore. ‘In the end there were certain pieces that just stood out, some for pure enjoyment, some for the reactions they evoked and some for putting their heads above the parapet on difficult issues.’
Science journalists have had no specific awards to recognise excellence in the field since 2007 when a previous sponsorship agreement with the ABSW came to a close and no alternative source of funding could be found. Prior to this the ABSW Awards had been made every year since 1966. The awards are now sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, LLC. ‘The ABSW's Science Writing Awards are back, and they are here to stay. All those who have been shortlisted are a celebration of the best of British and Irish science journalism. I am very proud to be associated with everyone who has been involved in making the Awards happen.’ Said Natasha Loder, Chair of the ABSW and Science Correspondent of The Economist.
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
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