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ABSW Science Journalism Summer School 2017


Wednesday 5 July 2017


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The Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, London NW1 2BE



ABSW Science Journalism Summer School 2017 is a one-day event to start or reinvigorate your career in science journalism. It will cover pitching and freelancing skills, data and investigative journalism and it will allow for networking and meeting many editors.

Draft programme: Speakers and sessions are still being finalised  

09:00-09:30    Coffee and registration

09:30-09:35     Welcome and introduction, Pallab Gosh, Honorary President, ABSW and science correspondent for BBC

09:35-10:15    Opening Plenary: The role of critical science journalism in the fake news world. Alok Jha, Science Correspondent, ITV

10:15-10:45    New media trends
Where are our audiences? The latest insights about digital news consumption from the Digital News Report 2017.  Dr Richard Fletcher, research fellow, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
10:45-11:15    Coffee/Tea Break

Pitching skills: how and where to sell you story ideas
Take part in a highly interactive session to develop your pitching skills.   Whether you are pitching as a staff journalist or a freelancer you need to learn how to make an editor take notice of your stories.
Inga Vesper, Senior editor, Research Research;  Aisling Irwin, acting editor, SciDev.Net.
Moderator: Mico Tatalovic, chairman of the ABSW Board and Environment and Life Sciences news editor, New Scientist

Investigative science reporting
 Investigative journalism presents a unique set of challenges for science journalists. Key issues being time, gaining access to information and fighting off legal threats. Learn the how and why of telling stories that others are trying to bury in this two-part session:
12.15 – 12.45 ‘Why investigative journalism matters, with examples from science’ by Rachel Oldroyd, managing editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism
12.45-13.15 ‘How we uncovered Google Deep Mind's secret NHS data grab’ by Hal Hodson, technology reporter at the Economist (previously New Scientist), and Will Douglas Heaven, freelance (previously chief technology editor at New Scientist and editor of BBC Future Now). They will talk about their scoop for New Scientist and challenges of doing investigations and taking on a big player alongside their usual news work
Moderator: Jack Serle, vice-chair of the ABSW Board and reporter Bureau of Investigative Journalism

13:15-14:30    Lunch and networking

14:30-15:30    Data journalism skills
Discover sources of open data and how to work with it using techniques such as visualisation, scraping and mapping.  Jonathan Stoneman, Freelance trainer in Open Data.  Moderator: Wendy Grossman, ABSW board member and freelance journalist

EurekAlert!’s science news service and media survey results
Brian Lin, director of editorial content strategy at EurekAlert! will introduce EurekAlert! and its editorial policies, explain how you can get access to it, and present results from its latest survey of science journalists
15:50-16:20    Tea Break

Successful freelancing
You might be considering some freelance work as part of your other work commitments or thinking about making freelance work your main source of income. Freelance science journalists will discuss sources of work, original approaches, carving out niche areas of specialisation, copyright issues and the tools that they use to manage their time.
Mark Peplow, freelance science journalist; Max Glaskin, an award-winning journalist and the author of Cycling;and Science Helen Thomson, freelance science journalist.  Moderator: Katharine Sanderson, ABSW board member and freelance science journalist.

17:30 - 21:00    Meet the editors, pitch your stories, get career advice
Take part in a highly interactive session to develop your pitching skills and learn what editors want.  You’ll have the opportunity to sit across the table from some of the key science editors and pitch story ideas, one-on-one, as well as ask them any career questions you may have.
Whether you are pitching as a staff journalist or a freelancer you need to learn how to make an editor take notice of your stories. Get an insight into the minds of editors, and a chance to network with those who could commission your stories.
Editors available to speak to will include: Chrissie Giles, commissioning editor; Mosaic Vicki Turk, senior editor at Wired UK; Michael Marshall, acting editor at BBC Earth; Mico Tatalovic, environment and life sciences news editor, New Scientist; Aisling Irwin, acting editor at SciDev.Net; Cristina Gallardo, reporter and editor at Research Europe; Emma Stoye, senior science correspondent at Chemistry World ...and more to come.
Moderator: Bob Ward, ABSW board member, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

More details and how to book on the ABSW website


ABSW Student Member £15; ABSW Member (all other categories) £30; All others: £100

Further details and contact information

Sallie Robins

Event website

Tags: , science, science journalism, training, professional training, freelance, broadcasting, research, data journalism, investigative journalism, networking, association of british science writers