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Thursday, 31 July 2008

August Briefing on copyright issues

"Copyrights & Responsibilities"

Date: 19 August 2008


The Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BG

  • Meet from 1800 at the Society (main entrance, opposite Fortnum's)
  • Briefing - 1830-1930
  • Adjourn to pub (voluntary) - 1930

  • £10 (ABSW full/associate member),
  • £25 (Or join on night to receive £15 discount.)
  • Student - £2.00

The briefing will cover:

Copyright issues for beginners - issues surrounding rights grab, intellectual property and essential copyright law for journalists. Especially valuable for freelances.If you smith words for a living – whether as a freelance or staffer, or as a writer or commissioner – you need to know about intellectual property. This briefing will explain how copyright is the stock-in-trade of the writer, and the opportunities for earning it represents. It will deal with the balance between self-interest and duty that arises from the law of copyright and the associated issues of moral rights, attribution, the increasing problem of rights grab, and the special implications of copying in the digital age. If time and demand permit, it will also stray into simple law for journalists, and dream a bit about ways of improving the contract terms to which freelances have to submit.

The speaker, Mike Harrison

Mike Harrison regards himself as a fraudulent member of the ABSW. Sure, he does write, and has done it for a living, with roles ranging from staff producer/director in BBC television to lonely freelance churning out news and features for radio, magazines and newspapers. And he does have a bit of science, with a Physics BSc and a chunk of career spent developing new ways of teaching the stuff. But the skeleton in his cupboard is the long periods he has spent in management, both in large corporations and in developing small, high-tech businesses – even a stint working inside that most fearsome of business organisations, a management consultancy.


Non members who arrive with their forms (available from fully filled out will receive their £15.00 refund in the form of a reduced membership fee.

Attendance is limited to 25. Spaces will therefore be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

To reserve a place email now.

You will be told if you have secured a space. Students may pay in cash on the night. Others will be asked to send a cheque/make PayPal payment in advance to confirm it.

Places unconfirmed within one week will be offered to others.Cheques made payable to ABSW should be sent to: Dr Ted Nield, c/o the Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, LONDON W1J 0BG.

Or you can use your PayPal account. Please make payments to absw"at" Please indicate in the box which course you are paying for, and don't forget to give your name if your email address does not.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Head of Communication - ESF

The European Science Foundation (ESF) provides a platform for its Member Organisations to advance European research and explore new directions for research at the European level. Established in 1974 as an independent non-governmental organisation, the ESF currently serves 77 Member Organisations, including Research Funding Agencies, Research Performing Organisations and Academies, across 30 countries.


The mission of the position is to provide ESF Member Organisations, the European research community in general, the policymakers, the media and society at large with effective communication and to develop and lead an integrated communication strategy. The Head of Communications will understand and be able to communicate the role of the ESF in the European Research Area. He will deliver ESF communication and engagement strategies as well as identify and explore new avenues for communication to further raise the ESF profile and impact. He will manage a Communications unit providing a range of services to the ESF.

Position Responsibilities

The candidate should demonstrate abilities to:

  • Further develop ESF’s communication within the overall ESF Strategy Plan and its associated Communications Plan ( see;
  • Liaise with the Chief Executive Unit with regard to the development of science policy;
  • Work closely with Science Units and Standing Committees with reference to science coordination activities;
  • Liaise with ESF Member Organisations and external scientific bodies;
  • Represent ESF in external meetings;
  • Take responsibility for the management and achievement of budgets of specific activities in compliance with ESF Financial Rules and Delegated Financial Authority and providing necessary information to Administration and Finance allowing the regular presentation of financial reports;
  • Manage a team of Communications Officers;
  • Communicate to the team a clear vision, strategy and priorities of the ESF and how it affects the objectives of the unit. Motivating the team to seek challenges, reach the strategic objectives and perform in line with, or beyond expectations.

Profile and Competences required

The successful postholder should demonstrate the following competences:
Specific competences:

  • Degree in communications or journalism and a background in science or equivalent experience in science journalism and communication plus in depth knowledge and minimum ten years experience of corporate communication, preferably in an international science-based environment;
  • Good working knowledge of European and national research structures (especially ESF Member Organisations) and institutions, and European and international science policy would be an advantage;
  • Proven experience in writing science stories for a variety of media;
  • Proven creativity in communications strategy and implementation;
  • Proven people management experience within a performance driven organisation;
  • Proven experience with implementing projects within a budgetary and financial framework;
  • High standard of spoken and written English, with a working knowledge of French or another European language being an advantage but not a requirement;
  • Good working knowledge of MS Office systems and of electronic databases;
  • Knowledge of corporate websites and corporate intranet portals (e.g. Content Management System like Typo3).

Inter-personal competences:

  • Action-orientated, responsible and autonomous, creative and willing to take initiatives, and continuously improvement-minded;
  • Leadership and motivational skills;
    Strong inter-personal and excellent communication skills within a multi-national context, including discretion, diplomacy and tolerance;
  • Assertive with capability to guide decision-making procedures and to represent ESF in the scientific and science journalism community;
  • Leadership and staff management skills;
  • Proven organisational skills;
  • Good presentational skills;
  • Transparency in working and a team-orientated work ethic;
  • Commitment to deliver on allocated tasks and respond in a timely manner to deadlines;
  • Positive and constructive attitude;
  • Capable of demonstrating the ESF’s values: Excellence, Openness, Responsiveness, Pan-European approach, Ethical Awareness and Human Values.

Employment conditions

The full time position is offered for a three year term, with the possibility of a prolongation of two years, preferably starting September 2008.

The place of work is Strasbourg and the job will involve a significant amount of travel,
The salary level will be based on experience and qualifications of the successful candidate and will follow ESF terms and conditions and relocation policy.

Please send your application by 18 August 2008 to ESF, Human Resources Unit

1 quai Lezay-Marnésia, BP 90015, F-67080 Strasbourg or to quoting the following reference identifier HOU-COM

Interviews will be held in Strasbourg on 2 September 2008.

Further details at

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

ABSW visit to Milton Park

Nina Morgan recently revived an old ABSW tradition and organised a site visit. Despite a low take-up from her fellow members, she is convinced that site visits still deserve a place in our calendar...

Nina Morgan writes: Back in the 1990s organising site visits were a regular – and very valuable – activity in the ABSW. I can honestly say that the information and contacts I made on the visits the ABSW organised played a large part in launching my career as a freelance science writer. Over the years, these seemed to have died away, but remembering how useful I found them – I decided to make the effort to organise one myself. My target site was Milton Park, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, which is home to a wide range of science and technology-based companies.

Read Nina's full article in The Science Reporter online. (To access this you need to be an ABSW member).

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Science Communications Officer - Alzheimer’s Research Trust

Starting salary £21-31K plus benefits

A full-time post based at our offices near Cambridge. Duties include writing lay summaries of research for supporters, press and fundraising activity; liaising with scientists; issuing press releases; disseminating research; briefing spokespeople.
· Good degree in life sciences
· Ability to translate complex scientific language for lay people
· Excellent verbal and written communication skills

See for more details and how to apply.

Closing date Thursday 24th July. Queries to Harriet Millward on 01223 843899.

Alzheimer’s Research Trust is the UK’s leading research charity for dementia.
The Stables, Station Rd, Gt Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5LR

Friday, 11 July 2008

Scientists heart journalists?

Thanks to Kat Arney for spotting this interesting take on a recent paper in Science, from a seriously experienced group of researchers who observe the media side of science. It is on the blog Not Exactly Rocket Science.

The blogger looks at the paper and offers "a quick guide to dealing with the media".

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

July's Briefing! Learned Society Magazines, July 16

Dr Mark Peplow (now of Nature Online, late of Chemistry World) and Dr Ted Nield (Geoscientist) will talk about the world of learned society magazines - a great springboard for a writing career. Dr Emily Baldwin (Astronomy Now) will complete the line-up, as a "worked example" of a former student who started her portfolio with LS mags and then got a real job on the strength of it.

This is an event aimed principally at students wishing to become science journalists.

Cost: Students £2; ABSW full/associate £5. £10 non members. (or join on night for £5 discount.) Pay on the night.

Pitch a story!

The event will begin at The Geological Society of London, sponsors of the ABSW Briefings 2008, at 1800 for 1830. The Briefing will run from 1830 to 1930. Those who wish to do so will then adjourn to another venue, where alcoholic beverages are served. (More details of this as they appear.)

Ted Nield will then be available for you to pitch an Earth Science news story to him, suitable for publication in the GeoNews section of Geoscientist. To see worked examples, please visit Geoscientist Online at

Ted will offer advice on pitching a story, and will commission pieces from successful pitchers! The best story submitted will win a fee, at 50p per published word, and will appear in the print version of the magazine. Other stories may also appear in the print version. All stories will appear online, with a byline.