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Monday, 28 April 2008

DFID to research media’s role in research uptake

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) has decided to fund research into the media’s role in research uptake. The press release on the thing says:

“The media plays an important role in communicating research and changing attitudes and behaviour, … , holding governments to account and giving voice to the poor”, states the Working Paper. Author, Ms. Abigail Mulhall, DFID’s Communication Team Leader, writes: “Current work demonstrates the value of helping southern journalists to engage with research and report development. Other initiatives within DFID offer the potential to learn more about how to support the media to bring about better governance.”
Hard to disagree, but someone else will have to work out what the point of the exercise might be.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Award for journalists for stimulating debate on sustainable finance

Another new gong on offer, as this press release from Sustainability explains, Ita├║, supported by Ethos and SustainAbility, launches award for journalists and academics for stimulating debate on sustainable finance.

In the case of journalism, there are two sub-categories: news stories in newspapers and magazines. In the case of Academia, there are three sub-categories: lato sensu postgraduate work, and papers prepared under the aegis of either a master’s or doctorate degree course. The winner of each sub-category will receive a prize of R$ 10 thousand. The participant entering the most outstanding work for each category will also win a week’s trip to London, involving a study program to be conducted jointly with SustainAbility, in addition to having his/her work examined and commented upon by John Elkington, founder of SustainAbility.
The web site for "enrollment" is in Portuguese, so we can't really tell you much about who can enter for these awards.

Wistar Institute says "thanks for the memory" in science journalism award

The UK may have a diminishing number of awards for excellence in science journalism, but they continue to pour out of the USA. The latest writer to collect such a gong is Terry McDermott, a staff writer in the Los Angeles Times.

The piece on the award on Newswise Science News, Los Angeles Times Writer Wins Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award, tells us that "the judges also awarded an honorable mention—to Chip Rowe, senior editor at Playboy magazine, for his articles on male sexuality".

Terry won for a four-part investigative study of research on memory, “Chasing Memory: One Man’s Epic Quest for Understanding”. The award comes with a certificate and a $5000.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Do you plan to cover national orgasm day?

Those of you who are aware that 31 July is National Orgasm Day may be looking for a scientific angle. After all, the Daily Mailification of much of the media in the UK means that news editors demand this sort of thing. So you may welcome this press release on The 2008 Orgasm Survey offering "early data for July issue editorial deadlines".

Three months' warning looks like foreplay extended beyond the cause of duty. Then again, you may need that long to test the widget on offer, the PelvicToner exerciser.

The press release refers to research by Emmanuele Jannini published in New Scientist in February "which seems to perpetuate the myth that 9 out of 10 women cannot achieve vaginal orgasm, in this case because of an anatomical defect".

A source for those writing about education & training

Most science writers find themselves drawn into covering aspects of education, perhaps even training, from time to time. A recent press release, Do you write about Education & Training? describes the Education Marketing and Public Relations Association (EMPRA) as "a group of Learning and Skills/FE education marketing professionals formed in response to the Foster Report on FE, and also in response to the need for a national and well-connected professional marketing, PR and Student Services support group for the sector".

The organisation says that it exists "to provide information, advice and entertainment for marketing, communications, public relations, recruitment, student services and support staff in the Post-14 training and education sectors".

There's an RSS feed to add to the growing mountain of live news sources. ABSW members in the PR can also add their own output to the streams.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Job opportunity with BHF

Science Communication Officer

Salary: £25-28K depending on experience

Location: London

We are the nation's heart charity, and the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK. Our research saves lives by advancing prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases.

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a talented science communicator to join a team that plays a key role in the charity. Thriving in a fast-paced environment, you will identify and follow-up great research stories, and your flair for writing engaging copy will bring our science to life for supporters and the general public. You will be able to work under pressure and to tight deadlines in order to deliver a first class service that enables the charity to promote our pioneering heart research.

This role is interesting and varied, and would suit an enthusiastic person with great interpersonal skills. You'll work with fundraising staff, the press office, policy and medical teams across the charity, as well as some of the top cardiovascular scientists in the UK.
A degree in a biomedical science is essential. A communication qualification and work experience in a related field is desirable.

Closing date: Tuesday 22 April

For the full job description and to apply follow this link.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Bath offers new course

A while ago this blog reported the sad news that the Bath University MSc in Science Culture and Communication, in addition to being "well-established and highly regarded" was also being - er - closed to new entrants. However there is now some better news to report.

Bath University's website announces: "As part of a wide-ranging review of our taught Masters provision we are currently developing masters-level communication programmes in the areas of Science, Health, Risk and Technology. These programmes will incorporate new units aimed at delivering the skills needed to communicate science, health and risk in an age of new and expanding technologies."

"We anticipate that these courses will be launched for the 2009-10 academic year, with recruitment beginning late in 2008."

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Damian Carrington changes his environment, again

It seems like only yesterday that Damian Carrington unplugged himself from his role is web supremo at New Scientist, a job that he effectively created, and became a big cheese at the Financial Times. We now read over at the
Cision Media Bulletin that Damian is seeking a change if environment and is jacking in his job as Interactive Editor, Head of Communities at FT.com. He is to become editor of Guardian Unlimited Environment.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Face to facebook

"Welcome aspiring science journalists!" trills the new "Student Association of British Science Writers" group on Facebook.

Set up by Carolyn Kelday (Royal Holloway, University of London), the ABSW Committee's student representative, the new Facebook Group is sponsored by ABSW - "the organisation that science journalists and writers join for professional discussions, networking and socialising".

The group is open to all students who have an interest in communicating science. But as the Group's blurb says: "we hope you find out more about the ABSW and consider becoming members to enjoy all of the benefits".

To join the Group go to http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10956238309.

Cancer in the media

The final call for nominations has just gone out for the Best cancer reporter award. While you ponder whether this is an award for the best cancer reporter, or the best award for cancer reporters, you might care to get the nomination form, which has to be completed by 25 April.

As the award is for "articles about cancer published in a newspaper, magazine or on a website between 25 April 2007 and 25 April 2008" anyone who has something coming out on 25 April has to rush.

Check it out on the Cancer Media Service. There is also a report of last year's media forum for journalists.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Max Perutz Awards from the MRC

This year's Medical Research Council - Max Perutz Awards might appeal to student members of the ABSW who qualify. You are eligible if you are "an MRC PhD student with an interest in communicating your science to a wider audience".

The Max Perutz science writing prize is a prestigious award aimed at encouraging and recognising outstanding communication amongst young MRC researchers.
Feel free to pass this on to anyone else who might be interested. The closing date for receipt of entries at the MRC is 2 May 2008.

The rest of us might also like to check out The secrets of good science writing. They come from last year's judges.