Connie St Louis, former President of the ABSW and currently the Board's European Representative, has been elected to the Board of the World Federation of Science Journalists.
Connie was elected alongside Mohammed Yahia of Egypt, a further vote is currently taking place for the third available post as the first round of voting resulted in a tie between Olivier Dessibourg (Switzerland) and Wolfang Goede (Germany).
For a full run down of the candidates and the votes see the WFSJ website.
ABSW AGM AGENDA
After the ABSW-CRA survey
Executive Board Election Results 2015
There were no contested posts in the 2015 elections, and in accordance with the process decided on and approved in conjunction with the election tellers, the candidates standing were approved by the AGM held on Thursday 26th March 2015. The candidates took up post immediately after the AGM and will decide on co-opted members at their first meeting in April, to enable student and associate members to be represented on the Board.
Welcome to your new Executive Board
Nominated by: Victoria Parsons & Wendy Barnaby
Supporting Statement: I am president of the ABSW and have previously been board/committee member and treasurer. I was finance director of the World Conference in London in 2009. Very few branches of writing or journalism in the UK have a professional association as capable as the ABSW. It's an honour to be president. I would very much like a further year in office and promise if elected to make time for this important commitment. The ABSW is now well-run and in good financial shape. Its members benefit from a growing range of activities such as the UK Conference of Science Journalists, and can win broader recognition via our flourishing awards scheme. Both of these have attracted sponsorship, and the awards are being expanded with the addition of new categories. I have several priorities for the next stage of the ABSW's development. One is to strengthen your board with new members. Another is to take forward a mooted scheme for mentoring entrants to the profession, an idea that has come from members and which we are planning to take forward. Yet another, arising from an idea by board colleagues, is a Summer School for ABSW members in years when we do not run a complete UKCSJ. In addition, we are looking at ways of working more effectively with colleagues elsewhere in Europe and with the Ugandan science journalists, our partner organisation in the global south. I'd very much like your support to continue this work for a further year, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Nominated by: Martin Ince & Josh Howgego
Supporting Statement: ABSW today is a successful association that organises great events for its members, from the annual awards to the UK conference – and most recently a summer school for science journalism. It is also at a cutting edge of developments in the sector with its generous fellowship for investigative science journalism and playing a part in reinvigorating science journalism at the European level (through a new award for the best European science writer, and through its work to establish a new European federation of science journalists). It also supports science journalism in developing nations (By twinning with Uganda’s USJA and by co-organising investigative journalism fellowship for the developing world with SciDev.Net). In my three years or so on the ABSW committee I have seen it become more ambitious. I would like to help keep steering it towards doing good things for its members and for science journalism in general. As before, I am keen to keep trying to make the board more responsive to its members and press on with supporting student and early-career members as well as with a more prudent use of resources, by actually increasing spending on activities our members want to see.
Nominated by: Martin Ince & Harriet Bailey
Supporting Statement: I started on the ABSW board as student representative, and have also helped with events. As our current Treasurer must step down I would like to offer myself as the new Treasurer. I am keen for the ABSW to expand as an organisation and continue its excellent work in supporting its membership of science journalists and communicators. The Executive Board posts elected annually and an outline of the responsibilities of each posts are as follows (please scroll down for more on the actual nomination process and the nomination form).
Connie St Louis
Nominated by: Beki Hill & Harriet Bailey
Supporting Statement: Over the last year I have continued to work on behalf of the ABSW with other European Associations to form a new European Federation of Science Journalism (EFSJ). You may remember at the last AGM; the ABSW board was given a mandate by members to leave EUSJA, which was not fit for purpose in the areas of governance and finance. During the year preparations have been made create to a European Federation of Science Journalism. The Swiss and Dutch Association have also left EUSJA and a number of other associations including Italy, Germany will be asking their members to join to become founding members of this new federation. It is hoped that the ABSW membership will support plans to continue with this new formation.
General Executive Board Member (7 posts available)
Nominated by: Martin Ince & Mico Tatalovic
Supporting Statement: I am a long-time board member originally coopted to assist with the adoption of new technologies such as the website. I help represent ABSW in the Creators Rights Alliance and generally contribute ideas and problem-solving.
Nominated by: Ehsan Masood & Martin Ince
Supporting Statement: I have held the position of ABSW member (in charge of events) for a number of years, and would like to stand again for the next term. I have experience of organising science outreach events and have organised a number of successful ABSW events during my time. I would like to stand again to continue to organise events. I would also like to engage with ABSW members in organising the events, and would welcome help and suggestions for event topics.
Nominated by: Mico Tatalovic & Beki Hill
Supporting Statement: I am an early career science editor, currently at SciDev.Net. I'm interested in representing people similarly at the beginning of their careers. And I would like to see the ABSW work to help open up new routes of entry into the profession for people from diverse backgrounds.
Nominated by: Bea Perks & Richard Van Noorden
Supporting Statement: I have been a member of the executive board for the past year, and would love to continue my involvement with the continuing work of ABSW. I’m a freelancer, having previously been on staff at Nature and Chemistry World. I'm particularly interested in ways that ABSW can support freelancers, young writers and those who aren't based in London.
Here is my regular update on the issues discussed at our latest ABSW Board meeting:
Membership of the ABSW
It’s that time of year again when we ask you to renew your membership. Many thanks to those of you who have already renewed. At the end of January we will update our records and send confirmation of membership to you all, and a friendly reminder to those who have yet to pay.
Membership of the ABSW is the sign that you are a serious member of this profession, and lets you connect to other science journalists, writers and communications professionals as well as to events and to training and work opportunities. Nearly 100 new members joined last year. I do hope you will renew your membership, and take an active part in your association this year.
ABSW Board Elections
One way to become more involved is to consider standing for the ABSW Board. Nominations are now open until 23 February for Board membership and for our various officer posts. I have already thrown my hat in the ring to stand for a further term as President. Full details of the posts available, the responsibilities and likely workload are all on the website along with links to the nomination form. So do please consider joining the Board in 2015. You don’t have to be in London for the meetings. We have finally managed to get Skype and other technology for remote participation. http://www.absw.org.uk/about-us/executive-board-election-process-2014.html
Sexism in Science Journalism
Last year the ABSW commissioned research into the issue of sexism in science journalism. The subject was also discussed in the opening plenary session of last year’s UK Conference of Science Journalists. Video, audio and reviews of this session are all available in our UKCSJ archive, http://www.ukcsj.org/edition-2014/sexism-in-science-plenary.html The Board is eagerly awaiting the final report from this research in order to assess what actions might be usefully taken by the ABSW, in conjunction with bodies such as the NUJ, to tackle sexism in science journalism.
Investigative Science Journalism
The Board developed and promoted an Investigative Science Journalism Fellowship scheme last year, and put aside funds to pay for it. So we were disappointed to find that no applications were received. Connie St Louis has been exploring why, and will soon be publishing an article on the issue that will let us promote the more scheme widely. For further details and to apply, please visit the website: http://www.absw.org.uk/news-and-events/absw-news/absw-investigative-science-journalism-fellowship.html
ABSW Summer School
Press Cards for ABSW members
The ABSW is finally making progress towards issuing members with press credentials via one of a number of official issuers. Many of you already have such credentials gained through your employer or the NUJ, but other members have told us that an ABSW card would be extremely valuable to them. I am working with Board member Wendy Grossman and the UK Press Card Authority to determine costs and processes for ABSW members to receive this benefit, and will keep you updated on progress.
Saturday 31 January – membership fees for 2015 should have been paid
Wednesday 11 February – ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland open for entry
Monday 23 February - nominations for ABSW Board close
Friday 27 February – nominations close for British candidate for European Science Writer of the Year
Week beginning 2 March 2015 – online voting for contested Board posts commences
Wednesday 18 March - ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland close for entry
Thursday 26 March – AGM venue tbc (London)
For more on all these, visit our website www.absw.org.uk. And while there, don’t forget to transplant the ABSW button to your own corner of cyberspace. Even with my html skills, it only took a moment, and it looks great.
President of the ABSW
The ABSW has signed a joint letter to the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General expressing concern about revisions to the Civil Service Code that could prevent scientsts responding to the needs of journalists.
The letter has been signed by:
Martin Ince, President, ABSW
Sir Colin Blakemore, Honorary President ABSW
Fiona Fox, Chief Executive, Science Media Centre
Dr Ed Sykes, Chair of Stempra
The Guardian have now taken up the story:
As have Science
The Medical Journalists Association has also sent a letter to Rt Hon Francis Maude
Nature reports clarification over the code and Research Councils
Stephen Straus, President of the Canadian Science Writers' Association has provided this link describing the timeline of Canada's muzzling of scientists