Summer School

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.

He noted that there seemed to be two kinds of journalists that covered science: the science writer, who loves and celebrates the work of those they cover and the hack who wants to get a good strong story ahead of anyone else. Ollie noted that Steve was both and that he was such a good hack precisely because he did so love science, which made him hate instances when it was misused and misrepresented.

It is this moral compass as well as Steve’s formidable journalistic skills that I believe embody our community’s values: “for science to truly benefit society it must be tested by high-quality science writing and journalism. What people need now more than ever before is for science writers and journalists to do our jobs to the very best of our ability, to be independent, honest and unbiased, to challenge the information we are given and to report clearly, accurately and to the highest professional standards”..

It is therefore only right that we should celebrate these values by preserving Steve’s memory by naming the investigation award after him. Science journalists will continue to know the benchmark he set for our profession. Steve was one of our own and he will be an inspiration to our community for generations to come.

Pallab Ghosh, Honorary President, ABSW and Science Correspondent, BBC News

Enter the Steve Connor award for investigative journalism


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