European Union of Science Journalists' Associations (EUSJA) has confirmed a study trip to the European Spallation Source (ESS) from April 3 to 5 2018.
ESS is a multi-disciplinary research facility based on the world’s most powerful neutron source, now under construction in Lund, Sweden. ESS will enable unprecedented world leading research using neutrons, providing new scientific opportunities in a wide range of research fields, including life sciences, energy, environmental technology, cultural heritage and fundamental physics. EUSJA is making available an opportunity to visit ESS and the construction site. There will be a guided tour of the site and labs and journalists will meet the Director General of ESS and a number of high-level representatives from the organisation.
Our colleagues at the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) have negotiated free access for all their member association's to Wiley Online Library. This library hosts online resources covering life, health and physical sciences, social science and the humanities.
The WFSJ has issued the ABSW with a unique login and password for its members to use.
Don't forget that the ABSW has also negotiated access to Elsevier journals for its members too.
An appreciation by Mike Kenward
The loss of anyone in the science writing community is always sad, but the messages on Facebook and the ABSW’s emailing list show that Steve Connor’s death from cancer, at the age of just 61, seems to have hit home more than the passing anyone else I can remember. The outpouring of sadness and regret, accompanied by fond, and often amusing, reminiscences shows just how much we all thought of Steve and his work as the scoopmaster general of science journalism.
When asked to write an appreciation of Steve for the ABSW, I quickly concluded that no single account could do him justice. My own part in Steve’s career was essentially peripheral. I may have been his editor, but anyone who knew him would know that Steve had little time for titles and status. You were just a colleague he worked with, and came to when he needed support, and expenses, to pursue the latest scoop.
Newsflash: Thank you to all those who completed the survey which is now closed to further entries
Four £50 John Lewis vouchers won by ABSW members who completed the survey - congrats!
The ABSW is reviewing the way it works and the benefits it provides to members. As part of this review, we want to hear your views, experiences, grievances, etc. You’ve got a chance to shape the future of this association and how it works, and, by extension, affect a big part of the UK science journalism community.
Report by Aisling Irwin - ABSW member and EUSJA grant recipient
Earlier this month, courtesy of an EUSJA grant, I zipped over to Berlin to attend the Falling Walls 2017 conference. Though it seems unheard of in Britain, it has prestige elsewhere. Scientific luminaries from around the world jet in to address an audience of high-calibre delegates (who have paid a high-calibre fee to hear them). Mindful of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the speakers predict the next “wall that will fall” as a result of their spectacular progress in subjects ranging from Artificial Intelligence to diagnosis of disease.
The ABSW held this panel discussion on Thursday 2 November 2017 in London.
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Truth is in the spotlight -- there’s much debate about how to find it and whether it still carries weight in our society. Media covering UK and US politics have lamented how truth is being sacrificed to misinformation, myth, spin or outright lies. During the US pre-election period, publishers from the Guardian to the New York Times to NPR pushed their fact-checking services. The need to tackle fake news then captured the attention of major social media players like Facebook.
At October's World Conference of Science Journalists held in San Francisco, Pallab Ghosh reported on the coverage of gene editing:
I sometimes joke that I’ve been a science journalist so long that I covered the extinction of the dinosaurs!
Although it’s not been quite that long – I have seen a thing or two in my time and so I’d like to offer a brief historical perspective as well as some observations on how gene editing is being reported in the UK.
So on that first
This is the website of the UK’s bestselling tabloid newspaper – The Sun.
GENE GENIE Embryos edited to remove killer mutation like the one that nearly killed Fabrice Muamba in world first — and it could save MILLIONS
Fabrice Muamba is a young English ex-soccer player who suffered a cardiac arrest during a televised match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur. He recovered despite his heart having stopped for 78 minutes.
It’s from August 4 and you can see it reports on the work of Dr Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University and colleagues on the removal of a gene from an early stage human embryo associated with a rare heart condition.
Researchers sometimes wonder if they should, or even could, start broadcasting or writing about science. Is it possible to take leave of the lab and become a science communicator?
This was the question uppermost in the minds of science postdocs at Queen’s this month when they gathered to hear what a panel of experienced science journalists had to say about what they do and how they had first entered the field.
The workshop, organised jointly by the Irish Science and Technology Journalists’ Association (ISTJA) and the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) and hosted by the Centre for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s, had an impressive line up of writers and broadcasters, all ready to share their knowledge and give the postdocs tips on how to carve out a niche in the highly competitive world of communications.