On April 13th, the ABSW recognised a talented student journalist for exposing exorcism substituting for psychiatric care in Yorkshire and a university newspaper holding its parent institution to account. Fellow ABSW board member JV Chamary and I had the privilege of attending the Student Publication Association's National Conference, #SPANC24, in sunny Bristol. The day was filled with great opportunities to chat and network with student journalists, ending with the UK's largest student publication award ceremony.

As is tradition, the ABSW sponsored the Best Science/Tech Piece and Publication, which meant we had the tough job of judging both categories and the fun job of presenting the awards to our winners. For the Best Science/Tech Piece, we had the opportunity to read some fascinating articles discussing a range of Science and Technology topics from around the country, ranging from vertical city farms in the middle of York to serious discussions of "Girl Math" in Glasgow. After significant consideration, our choice of winner was Zoya Gul from UCL's RUM Review. Zoya's article "Trust me, I am an exorcist" was an illuminating insight into the practice of exorcism within the Northern industrial town of Halifax.

Zoya Gul wan SPANC24 Best Science/Tech Piece

Zoya's article, a powerful exploration of the inequity within NHS psychiatric care and the backstreet exorcisms that are resulting from long NHS wait times for mental health treatment and poor recovery rates in Muslim communities was a standout. The article was engaging and well-researched, with first-hand interviews and a strong narrative throughout. Her work prompted some crucial discussions of the current economic landscape of mental health in the UK and was a deserving Winner of Best Science/Tech Piece.

Eve Zebedee, Highly Commended award at SPANC24

A congratulations also needs to go to Eve Zebedee from The Glasgow Guardian, who wrote a highly engaging piece on what she called her "Roman Empire", the term dubbed by TikTok users to describe something that one just can't stop thinking about. Eve's Roman Empire was the fact that the first study to test period products on actual blood was published only last June. The piece Bloody Hellwas an insightful commentary on the neglect of research in menstrual health and the importance of gender representation within academia. Consequently, we were pleased to be able to recognise Eve with a Highly Commended award.

The Courier won SPANC24 Best /Science Publication or Section

The competition for the Best Science Publication or Section category was tough, with nomination taking us on a tour of student publications from Norfolk to Scotland. But by looking at criteria such as accessibility to a student audience, research accuracy and reporting impact, we picked our well-deserved Winner, Newcastle University's The Courier. This publication balanced presenting science's fun side whilst acknowledging its political nature and impact on society. We were particularly impressed with the publication's willingness to hold their university into account for both their sustainability practices and their military links, calling for greater transparency and voicing student frustration. Overall, we found The Courier's Science section to be teeming with personality with a solid understanding of their student audience; their section editors, Anthony Welsh, Elizabeth Gores, and Matthew Barratt, should be proud.

Glasgow Guardian, Highly Commended award for their science section

Glasgow Guardian were a recurring feature on the stage with us, again receiving our Highly Commended award for their science section. We were impressed by its rapid growth over the last academic year and its interdisciplinary approach to science communication, and thus, we couldn't help but recognise them a second time for their contributions to student science journalism.

The ABSW would like to express how impressed we were with all the students who spent the last academic year working tirelessly to bring science to their cohorts. You did not make our role as judges easy. We are immensely proud of our role in supporting future science journalists and are very pleased to offer our Winner ABSW student membership. As a reminder, we now offer student membership fees for two years after graduation to help student journalists get their foot in the door. 

We are excited to see what SPANC25 has in store but in the meantime, I am eagerly waiting to see what The Courier's next word of the week is. I am crossing my fingers for SPANC, it should follow Cummingtonite nicely. (It is a rock!)

The Association of British Science Writers is registered in England and Wales under company number 07376343 at 76 Glebe Lane, Barming, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 9BD.
Log in | Powered by White Fuse