Participate in research re changes in reporting of health, environmental and science risks in the UK press over the past 30 years
“Frankenfoods could kill you”, “MMR linked to autism” and “mobile phones will fry your brain”. This is but a small sample of science based health stories that broke across the national news media in the late 90’s / early 00’s. With hindsight, such stories may have been based upon questionable scientific evidence.
In 2000, a House of Lords science and technology committee concluded that there was a need to improve the communication of science, risk and uncertainty across all spheres of public life. Several recommendations of this report sought to improve the manner in which “science” communicated with journalists – such as the establishment of institutions such as the Science Media Centre to act as a liaison between the world of science and the world of journalism. Other recommendations were aimed towards modulating how journalists constructed their science based news stories in that efforts should be made to mitigate uncertainty and develop a “responsible” approach risk within news stories.
The Steve Connor Award for Investigative Journalism
When Steve Connor passed away, tributes to his journalism came flooding in and rightly so. He was, in my view, the greatest science journalist of his generation. I am therefore so pleased that ABSW Board has chosen to honour Steve by naming its award for investigative journalism after him.
The investigation award is one of the most prestigious prizes in science journalism. It is there to reward those that don’t take the information they are given at face value, that can ‘smell’ a story, that can chase it down, stand it up and, crucially, set right wrongdoing.
So many nice things were said by Steve by those who were fortunate enough to work with him. But one I thought was particularly insightful was by his former editor at the i newspaper, Ollie Duff.
ABSW Science & Technology Journalism Summer School 2019
Monday 8 July 2019, University College London
- Considering a career in science journalism?
- Taken a career break and want to get back into the field?
- Thinking of moving to the science or tech beat?
Gain new skills and insights and get the chance to network with key editors and journalists at the Association of British Science Writers Science & Technology Journalism Summer School.
The summer school is an official satellite event of the WCSJ2019 and for those registered to attend the WCSJ the summer school is free to attend (proof of WCSJ registration required on registration for the summer school by upload of your registration receipt) you will also then receive a 100 Swiss francs refund (50 for students) on the registration fee paid for the WCSJ19 after the WCSJ has taken place by providing evidence of attendance at the summer school which ABSW will provide on request.
Winners of the ABSW student and newcomer awards: where are they now?
Over the past decade, the ABSW has given out more than two dozen awards to students and newcomers, including runners-up and shortlisted entries.
Where are those award winners now and what are they working on?
Either the awards jury is great at picking out promising professionals, or the award itself plays a role in boosting their high-flying careers, as the following list is quite impressive.
Most work in science and tech journalism, some are research scientists, and others are policy managers or strategy advisers at medical institutions.
Here’s a selection – in alphabetical order – of winners and runners-up in the ABSW awards for students and newcomers since 2009, with brackets to indicate what they were doing when they won their ABSW award, and where they are now:
ABSW reveals top winners over its half century of awards
The ABSW Science Writers' Awards for Britain and Ireland, the "Oscars" of science writing, have been running for over half a century – and only a handful of people have won on more than three occasions.
Overall, there have been some 372 winners since our records started in 1966. That’s an average of around 7 award winners a year.
The vast majority of the winners, 251 of them, only won once; 32 people won twice.
Nine people won 3 times; three people won 4 times; and two people won 5 times.
But only one person – the late Steve Connor of The Independent – won a grand total of 7 awards, the record number of ABSW awards netted by anyone.
Steve Connor won in 1985, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2012, 2016 and 2018 in categories including news, features, and investigation, as well as the UK science writer of the year and lifetime achievement awards. The ABSW committee has named our investigative award to honour his work.
The next top winners were Ian Sample and Tim Radford, both of The Guardian, who each won five awards.
Geoff Watts, broadcaster and journalist, and Andrew Luck-Baker, producer and presenter – both of whom worked for BBC Radio 4 – have each won four times, as did Roger Highfield, mostly for his work at The Daily Telegraph.
And the nine people who won three times each are: Frank Close, Deborah Cohen, Louise Dalziel, Oliver Gillie, John Gribbin, Robin McKie, Martin Redfern, Colin Tudge, and Ed Yong.
The list of top winners is dominated by men, with only two women featuring in the top 15 winners with three awards each – Deborah Cohen and Louise Dalziel, both broadcast journalists at the BBC. This gender skew could be partly because journalism was long dominated by men, and perhaps in part becuase of a possible bias in application rates. Hopefully, we are making those reasons a thing of the past and we’ll see more women winners in years to come. In fact, last year we had ten women winners out of a total of 19; and in 2017 we had eight women winners out of 15.
The 2019 awards are now open for entry in 16 categories. The deadline is 31 January.
(These numbers are preliminary and come from our publicly-available records of award winners. They don’t include runners-up or special mentions.)
Going to #WCSJ19 in Lausanne this July? Join #ABSW to save on registration fee!
Booking your ticket early and being a member of ABSW can save you up to 140 Swiss Francs (£115) off the regular registration fee for the World Conference of Science Journalists.
Membership at ABSW is only £40 a year, and it includes a host of other benefits.
ABSW members who attend our summer school of science journalism in London, in June, will be eligible for a further 100 Swiss Francs (£80) refund on their ticket to the WCSJ19.
Regular registration fee for the WCSJ19 is expected to be 490 CHF. Early bird with ABSW membership will only cost 350 CHF, with a further 100 CHF discount for those attending the ABSW Summer School of Science Journalism 2019 in June. Don’t miss out on the available discount to the largest and most important global meet-up of science journalists.