This year’s Science Journalism Summer School takes place online on Thursday 08 July; the programme will include keynote sessions, interactive workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities, as well as the ABSW Awards 2021 Ceremony that evening. 

Book now to secure your place

Confirmed sessions

09:30 Reporting from the frontline of a pandemic (60 mins)

Keynote address: Natasha Loder, health policy editor The Economist

Session moderator: Katharine Sanderson, ABSW Board member

10:40 Including diverse voices in science journalism (60 mins)

Panel: Shirish Kulkarni (Decolonising the News, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism), Anjali Ramachandran (Storythings), Angela Saini (author Superior: The Return of Race Science)

Session moderator: Katrina Wesencraft, ABSW Board member

Science journalism needs to become more inclusive. The British journalism industry is overwhelmingly white, and a recent study found that science journalists are less likely to quote researchers whose names aren’t of British origin. How can we expect people to trust in science stories that are predominantly reported through a white lens? 

Newsrooms have a lot of work to do but we can all take steps to include underrepresented people in our science stories. Join Angela Saini and Shirish Kulkarni for a discussion about objectivity, credibility and finding diverse sources.

12:00 Google News Initiative Tools: Fundamentals (60 mins)

Trainer: Caroline Scott, Google News Labs

Session moderator: Matt Warren, ABSW Board member

This session will equip you with practical research tips with examples. We’ll highlight the tools to help you verify social media content across Google. We'll point to data journalism tools that can help you research and visualize your ideas, including a look at how Google Trends can complement your storytelling. From a breaking news situation to a feature length article - learn how Google Maps and Earth can complement social media posts or add a visual element to your articles. You'll dive into a range of tools with examples along the way!

12:10 How to get a job as a science journalist in the mainstream media and what to expect when you get there (60 mins)

Panel: Victoria Gill (BBC), Samuel Lovett (The Independent), Madhumita Murgia (Financial Times), Alexandra Thompson (Yahoo UK)

Session moderator: Andy Extance, ABSW Chair

The Covid-19 pandemic has raised the importance of science journalism in the mainstream media greatly. Yet the career path into science journalism for these large, general audiences is not a well-charted one. In this session we'll hear from four established science journalists from mainstream outlets. We'll ask them how they got into this role and what aspect of it most defied their expectations. We'll also ask what their work routine is now like. Finally, we'll ask what advice they have for others looking to follow the same career path. 

14:00 Data journalism: using data as a source (90 mins)

Trainer: Aleszu Bajak (USA Today)

Session moderator: Matthew Warren, ABSW Board member

How do you bring together shoe-leather reporting, data analysis and data visualization? This hands-on data workshop will lead participants through the fundamentals of finding, interviewing and visualizing data for science journalism stories. The workshop will introduce participants to basic statistics and mapping and design techniques, and will discuss the importance of numerical literacy, ethics of data sourcing and analysis, and design guidelines for building data visualizations for journalism. 

14:10 Successful freelancing (90 mins)

Panel: Syriacus Buguzi, Olive Heffernan, Georgia Mills, Gayathri Vaidyanthan

Session moderator: Katharine Sanderson, ABSW Board member

In this discussion and networking session we'll hear from four successful freelance science journalists about their path to where they find their careers today. Each will share their own story and tips for others starting out in freelance journalism. 

15:40 How to report on pre-prints (60 mins)

Panel: Serge Horbach (Aarhus University), John Inglis (Cold Spring Laboratory Press), Cassidy Sugimoto (Indiana University Bloomington)

Session moderator: Dalmeet Singh Chawla, ABSW Treasurer

The pandemic has made rapid dissemination of science and science news crucial. How can reporters adequately report on preprints while appreciating the uncertainties and nuances that may come with them? How should science reporters be extra careful while reporting on preprints? 

15:50 Unlearning academic writing (60 mins)

Panel: Layal Liverpool (New Scientist), Jason Palmer (The Economist), John Whitfield (Research Professional News)

Session moderator: Katrina Wesencraft, ABSW Board member

When moving from academia to journalism, it can be tough to change your writing style. The panel will discuss the biggest differences between academic and journalistic writing, common mistakes and how to break those bad habits.

16:50: Science writing beyond journalism (60 mins)

Panel: Annie Brookman-Byrne (The Psychologist), Alex Lathbridge (Cancer Research UK), Katherine Nightingale (Francis Crick Institute)

Session moderator: Matthew Warren, ABSW Board member

Beyond science journalism there are many career paths within the broad field of science writing. In this session we will hear from several science writers who work outside of the strict confines of journalism, including bloggers and writers for charities and research institutions. We’ll learn about the speakers’ own career paths and the ups and downs of their roles. What sorts of jobs are out there? How do you get a foot in the door? What challenges can you expect to face? And is it possible to build a portfolio career?  

17:00 Speed pitching (60 mins)

Experts: Tushna Commissariat (Physics World), Kate Douglas (New Scientist), Richard Gray (BBC), Helen Pearson (Nature), Matt Reynolds (WIRED UK), Inga Vesper (Research Professional News), Neil Withers (Chemistry World

Session moderator: Katrina Wesencraft, ABSW Board member

Speed pitching is a great way to meet editors, practice your pitching skills and get instant feedback on how to make a story idea work for their publications. 

Select a relevant editor using our guide and sign up for a one-on-one time slot using the form below. You will get three minutes to pitch, followed by three minutes of feedback, so use your time wisely!

Booking for the speed pitching session is now open

Editor details and areas of interest as well as a booking form can be found below

Speed pitching

Preferred editor - choose a maximum of two

Communication preferences

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