2014 Programme

Last updated 3 June 2014

Plenary:

Sexism in science journalism

Producers: Sue Nelson/Connie St Louis

Reproducibility in science

Producer: Ed Yong

Parallel Sessions:

New ways of commissioning and funding quality science journalism online

Producer: James Randerson

The secrets behind creative radio and video

Producer: Angela Saini

Journalists as entrepreneurs – finding your voice

Producer: Alok Jha

Making science spectacular online

Producer: James Randerson

Statistics in Science Journalism

Producer: Deborah Cohen

Data Journalism

Producer: Sallie Robins/Peter Aldhous

Dragons Den – live pitching session

Producer: Ehsan Masood

Tools of the Trade

Producer: Daniel Clery

Writing Books

Producer: Daniel Clery

Successful Freelancing

Producer: Sallie Robins

Running your own Business

Producer: Sallie Robins

Narrative in Science Journalism 

Producers: Ed Yong/Alok Jha


Sexism in science journalism

Two high profile incidents of sexism and science writing in the United States recently sent shockwaves through the profession.
 
These affairs resonated across the Atlantic, with many female science journalists both in the UK and the US writing about their experiences of sexism for the first time. 
 
This session will explore if science is simply representative of journalism as a whole or whether it’s a special case. It will explore how to deal with the issue as well as suggesting the possibility of a sexism manifesto to encourage better reporting on women scientists.
 
The ABSW will also release the results of a survey on sexism encountered in science journalism by its members.
 
Chair: Sue Nelson, Boffin Media, is a lifelong feminist and upset Dara O’Briain by writing in the Daily Telegraph that TV science was filled with too many Top Gear science style programmes fronted by male comedians that alienated both women viewers and guests. @sciencenelson
 
Panel:
Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
Priya Shetty, global health journalist, has established @SexismInScience
Joan Haran, Freelance Researcher. Research includes media representations - or the lack thereof - of women in science, engineering and technology.
 

Reproducibility in science

Science journalism is meant to cast a critical eye upon science, but science is now casting an increasingly critical eye upon itself. Retractions are on the rise, post-publication peer review dismantles high-profile papers within weeks of airing, and several studies in psychology and medicine have uncovered a startling prevalence of irreproducible results and hidden data. This panel will explore the growing movement to improve the practice of science, and how it affects science journalism. 

Chair:

James Randerson, Assistant News Editor, The Guardian

Panel:

Ivan Oransky, vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today.  Writer of the blogs Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch

Ben Goldacre, physician, academic and science writer

Chris Chambers, senior research fellow in cognitive neuroscience at the school of psychology, Cardiff University. Science writer

Deborah Cohen. investigations editor BMJ


New ways of commissioning and funding quality science journalism online

In the last two years a diverse collection of online platforms have appeared that publish in-depth quality science, environment and health journalism. They also provide professional writers decent rates of pay. These offer opportunities to writers but they are also changing the media landscape and influencing mainstream publishers. More fundamentally, by involving web users in commissioning stories and funding projects directly they are also changing the relationship between readers and the content they consume online. 
 
Producer and Chair:
James Randerson, Assistant news editor, The Guardian 
 
Panel: 
Sarah Hartley, editor and founder of contributoria.com
 
Sebastian Esser, founder of KrautReporter.de
 
Giles Newton, editor of Mosaic
 
Jim Giles, co-founder of Matter
 
This session was independently programmed by the producer James Randerson, and is supported by Mosaic 
 
Mosaic Science

The secrets behind creative radio and video

Top video and audio producers offer their advice on how to make radio shows, podcasts and science films sound zingy and look fresh. Plus, the Radio 4 commissioner behind The Infinite Monkey Cage explains what the BBC is looking for in its new science programmes. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions, of course.

Producer and Chair:

Angela Saini, Science Journalist and Broadcaster

Panel:

Mohit Bakaya, BBC Radio 4 Commissioner

Sue Nelson, Award winning science broadcaster, former BBC science correspondent and founder of the Space Boffins podcast

Brady Haran, Award-winning Video Journalist and Producer of The Periodic Table of Videos


Journalists as entrepreneurs - finding your voice

It's never been easier for journalists set up our own blogs, produce our own podcasts or make our own videos. But how do you go beyond just building an online portfolio? How do you build something that has a unique view of the world and does something that others don't? We'll use examples of prominent new journalistic startups to examine how to find your niche, to make your name and build, and say, something others haven't already.

Chair:

Alok Jha, Science Correspondent, The Guardian

Panel:

Ivan Oransky, vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today.  Writer of the blogs Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch

Jim Giles, co-founder of Matter

Adam Smith, Reporter, Research Fortnight

Jody Sugrue, Creative Director at National Geographic


Making science spectacular online

Digital platforms offer huge scope for telling science stories with more immediacy, clarity and sheer beauty. This session will showcase some of the best online interactive treatments as well as discussing live blogging and the advantages offered by mobile platforms. What do science journalists have to gain from these new approaches and how are they best used.
 
Chair:
Adam Vaughan, Online Environment Editor, The Guardian
 
Panel:
Jim Giles, Journalist and co-founder of Matter
 
Duncan Clark, The Guardian
 
Jody Sugrue, Creative director at National Geographic
 
Amanda Farnsworth, Editor of visual journalism at the BBC
 

Dragon's Den - live pitching session

Following on from the successful session in 2012, early career science journalists will be able to test out their pitching skills live to a panel of editors (Dragons) in front of the audience.   The session is intended to tease out the keys to successful pitching and those who take part may well end up finding their story commissioned.   If you would like to enter the Dragon's Den and pitch to the editors fill out the online application form (the link will appear here when we open to entry).   NB: those selected to pitch will then get free entry to the UKCSJ.

Host:

Timandra Harkness, broadcaster, writer and comedian

Dragons:

Helen Pearson, Nature

Ehsan Masood, Research Fortnight

Hannah Devlin, Science Editor,  The Times

This session is supported by Research Fortnight

Research Fortnight


Successful Freelancing

What are the secrets to successful freelancing?  How do you take that first step away from the security of a salary and benefits?  How do you make a living?   Where will the work come from? How do you stick to your deadlines and motivate yourself in an isolated environment?   Hear the inside view from three successful freelancers.
 
Chair:
Martin Ince, President ABSW, Freelance Journalist
 
Panel:
 
Richard Vizefreelance journalist, communications consultant and public policy expert, working as Public Policy Media Ltd
 
Priya Shetty, Global health journalist, writes for The Lancet, Nature, New Scientist, Huffington Post, The Guardian, BBC
 
Angela Saini, freelance science journalist, broadcaster and author

Running Your Own Business

As a freelancer there is plenty to consider in terms of setting up your own business, will you set up a company or act as a sole trader for example?   What are your legal obligations in terms or record keeping and tax?   How can you ensure you make the most of your hard earned money?  An exploration of the nitty gritty of setting up your own journalism/writing business.
 
Chair:
Martin Ince, President ABSW, Freelance journalist
 
Panel:
Toby Murcott, Freelance journalist and sole trader
 
Richard Hollingham, Boffin Media
 
Martin Connell, Accountant

Statistics in Science Journalism

Want to know if crotch length can actually predict infertility in men? Or if coffee really does cause pancreatic cancer? This session will explore how to report research and statistics focusing on how to find limitations; how not to get things wrong; and, also how to spot a potential scoop

Panel:

Deborah Cohen, Investigations Editor, BMJ

Ivan Oransky, vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today.  Writer of the blogs Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch


Tools of the Trade

How do we actually carry out the process of reporting science, and what technology is available to make the job easier? Do you use shorthand, speedwriting, or type straight into a computer? Do you record or rely on your notes? What computer programs and apps are available to help to find stories and make reporting more efficient? Come and hear some masters of the craft and dedicated tech-heads on what gear they use.

Chair:

Daniel Clery, Science journalist and author

Panel:

Mukul Devichand, BBC Trending
 
Paul Bradshaw, Director, MA Online Journalism, Birmingham City University
 
Laura Wheeler, Community Manager for Digital Science

Writing Books

Who doesn’t want to see a spine on a bookshop shelf with their own name on it? But how hard is it to find a subject, write a proposal, choose an agent and land a book deal? And once you’ve banked your advance, how do you stay focused on that mother-of-all-deadlines which may be years away? How much research do you need to do? How do you stay motivated? Come and meet experienced authors, agents and editors.

Chair:

Daniel Clery, science journalist and author

Panel:

Jo Marchant, award winning science journalist and author
 
Philip Ball, freelance science writer and winner of the Aventis Prize for Science Books
 
Karolina Sutton, literary agent, Curtis Brown.
 
Will Hammond, Editorial Director, The Bodley Head.

Narrative in Science Journalism

Longform science writing is flourishing, with a growing number of outlets that publish pieces at 3,000... 5,000... even 10,000 words. This session will look at the art of crafting long narratives, from the minutiae of structure, to tips and tricks for reporting. 

Chair:

Alok Jha, Science Correspondent, The Guardian

Panel:

Helen Pearson, Chief Features Editor, Nature

Will Storr, Author and Journalist

Paul Olding, TV and Film, Director and Producer


Data Journalism

Discover some of the tools available for data journalism, and how they can be applied to reporting on science, and helping to tell your stories. Let the experts take you through some of their successful projects and teach you how to avoid potential pitfalls. 

Chair:

Timandra Harkness, Broadcaster, writer and comedian

Panel:

Peter Aldhous, Science journalist, contributor MATTER and Medium (remotely from USA)

John Walton, BBC News, Visual Journalism

John Burn-Murdoch, Interactive Data Journalist, The Financial Times


Biographies

Toby Murcott

Toby Murcott trained as a biochemist, acquired a PhD and spent 7 years in a Bristol University laboratory before recognising that he was better at talking about science than doing it. After a brief flurry of TV he ended up at the BBC Radio Science Unit, producing and presenting programmes across all BBC networks. He also managed to squeeze in being Science Editor for Maxim magazine. Then, for a bit of variety, Toby had a two year stint as Editor of digital satellite science channel Einstein TV. He has published in a variety of places from The Times to Nature; consulted for TV companies; written a book; chaired debates; taught scientists about working with the media and journalists about working with scientists. He currently makes programmes for BBC Radio 4, teaches Science Journalism at City University, and grows his own vegetables whenever he gets a chance.

Amanda  Farnsworth

Amanda has held a series of  high profile roles in  journalism for the BBC including Editor of the TV One and Six O Clock News, Launch Editor News Channel, Deputy Editor, Newsnight and Bureau Chief in Washington DC. 
 
She has a wide range of editorial experience, including News, Sport and Digital Media both in the UK and abroad and has led large teams in the highly pressurised setting of live broadcasting such as the London Bombings in July 2005. 
 
From 2009-2012, she was the  Project Executive BBC London 2012   leading on formulating the BBC's vision, editorial strategy and plans to cover all the major events including the Olympic Torch Relay, the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games. 
Amanda played a key role in developing BBC strategy and seeing it implemented across a broad range of policy areas and was responsible for developing some of the BBC’s  key external partnerships around the London 2012 Olympics , most importantly the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games ( Locog) and the London Mayor's Office.
 
She is currently Editor, Visual Journalism, BBC News bringing together the TV designers for local and domestic national output, for BBC World News and World Service, and for the TV Languages services together with the high end multimedia online journalists to create an innovative cross platform creative hub. Amanda also ensures close collaboration with the UX designers and developers from BBC Future Media who sit with, and are part of, the Visual Journalism team.  This year , her team has won a European Digital Media Award, a Malofiej Award, a Data Journalism Award and been named a highlight of the NICAR data journalism conference.  The team was also nominated for a Webby in the Science category for How to Put a Human on Mars..
 
Amanda also works for BBC Events in the Television Entertainment department, seconded as Executive Producer on   major events including the Iraq Memorial Service, The Royal Wedding and Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral.  She edited the live event coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death from Pretoria for BBC1. 
 
Amanda is also a Non – Executive Director of the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, West London.
 
James Randerson
Dr James Randerson is assistant national news editor at the Guardian. He was previously the paper's science correspondent and online environment editor. Before that he was deputy news editor at New Scientist magazine. He has edited books on cycling and Darwin. His latest book Science and Environmental Journalism: a 60 Minute Masterclass is published on 14th July. http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jamesranderson
 
Richard Hollingham
Richard is a science journalist, writer and broadcaster. He is also Director of Boffin Media. The small company produces science programmes for BBC radio, award-winning podcasts as well as TV reports for the European Space Agency. It runs media, podcasting and TV training courses for several UK universities and institutions. Richard still presents BBC radio programmes and podcasts, writes a space column for BBC Future and edits Space UK magazine. 
 
Martin Connell
Martin Connell FCCA is a qualified accountant with over thirty years’ experience working with sole traders and small owner managed businesses.  His practice specialises in advising sole traders and small companies on UK accounts and HMRC tax returns.  He is a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.
 
He can be contacted on 0789 979 3159 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..