UK Conference of Science Journalists

Day Three: Thursday 15 October

09:50 Quiz the finalists: Part 2 (90 mins)

Session moderator: Mun Keat Looi

Panel: Giorgia Guglielmi (freelance), Hal Hodson (The Economist), Alok Jha (The Economist), Alex Riley (freelance)

Features categories in the ABSW annual awards are always inundated with entries, so how do you write one that will stand out from the rest?

In our second panel, two 2019 winners, and two of the shortlisted 2020 features entrants, talked about what made their articles special – from dreaming up the idea to nailing the right interviews; and from crafting the narrative to working synergistically with the editor. 

2019 winner Hal Hodson (The Economist): The family of a boy without a cerebellum found out how to take its place

2019 winner Alex Riley (freelance – Mosaic): How a wooden bench in Zimbabwe is starting a revolution in mental health

Giorgia Guglielmi (freelance – Nature): Facing up to injustice in genome science;

Alok Jha (The Economist): Gravitational astronomy proves its maturity

The discussion was moderated by former Mosaic features editor Mun Keat Looi, now international features editor of the BMJ.  Here's the replay:


11:30 Meet the experts (90 mins)

Session moderator: Ben Upton

Experts: Ben Deighton (SciDev.Net), Leo Hickman (Carbon Brief), Oliver Morton (The Economist), Helen Pearson (Nature), Matt Reynolds (WIRED UK), Joanna Roberts (Horizon)

Ten-minute one-to-one appointments to explore career options and skills development in confidence.


13:10 Learning, socialising and communicating through games (60 mins)

Session moderators: Andy Extance and Sam Illingworth

The modern board game industry is undergoing a renaissance, bringing an alternative social leisure pursuit to many. In addition, games like Pandemic can be used to get scientific messages across.

Sam Illingworth, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication, games designer, and co-founder of The Manchester Game Studies Network, gave an overview of the potential of gaming before some delegates tried out some games - here's the replay:


13:30 Solutions journalism (90 mins)

Session moderators: Nina Fasciaux and Carolyn Robinson

Do you ever sign off on a piece of work with a feeling of unease because you haven't told the whole story? Surveys show that the public is disengaging from the news because it's so depressing. Does that accurately reflect what is happening in the world - or are we as journalists selectively ignoring the positive - the creative, hard-wrought solutions that are working and surely should get some air time to provide a balanced picture of the world. 

Solutions journalism is not PR and it's not about untested ideas. It seeks out the solutions and critiques them - and uses them to hold others to account. 

Nina Fasciaux and Carolyn Robinson introduced solutions journalism - what it is and what it isn't, and how this lens could help you sharpen up your science reporting and bring you new angles for your stories. 


15:10 What works for younger audiences? (90 mins)

Session moderator: Ben Upton

Panel: Laura Garcia, Helen Pilcher, Chris Stokel-Walker, Sarah Zielinski

What do young audiences actually want from science journalism? It’s a perennial question. In this session, with practical and visual examples, we'll discover what has worked for reaching smart, engaged youth audiences in 2020, covering everything from Tiktok tips to the myths of Generation Z. This 90-minute panel discussion with four speakers concluded with an audience Q&A. Here's the replay:


16:50 Lessons from fiction for science writers (90 mins)

Session moderator: Inga Vesper

Panel: Martin Angler, Nick Booth

In this session, three journalists and authors discussed how fiction writing techniques can be applied to your journalism to make it clearer, more balanced and more exciting, and gave tips to nail down your narrative, capture your readers and spin even the most boring policy story into an exciting tale. Here's the replay:



18:20 Closing Ceremony(10 mins)

ABSW Chair Andy Extance and ABSW President Pallab Ghosh




Thursday 15 October 11:30: Meet the expert

Preferred expert(s) - choose a maximum of two

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