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Friday, 22 May 2009

Framing research with the Danish Science Journalists' Association

The Danish Science Journalists' Association is hosting a conference on June 11 and wants you to go along.

From their blurb:

"The rise of new media (blogs) and social media (twitter, has changed the rules of engagement in science communication. New types of media platforms emerge by the minute, print media circulation numbers are dropping and communication takes place in an ever more fragmented digital media reality. Regardless of whether you are a science journalist, a science communicator or a scientist - a new approach towards science communication is emerging.

What impact will this have on you?
At this years' interactive conference the Danish Association of Science Journalists will take a peek into the future by proposing your reality to expert prognoses from our invited national and international speakers:

  • Matthew Nisbet, ph.d., associate professor, School of Communication, American University, Washington
  • Anne Knudsen, Editor-in-chief, Weekendavisen
  • Michael Gross, ph.d., science Writer, England
  • Barbara Ann Halkier, dr. scient, associate professor, Dept. of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen
  • Jacob Skovgaard-Petersen, professor MSO, Dept of Cross-cultural and regional studies, University of Copenhagen.
We aim to draw the current landscape of science communication, inspire you with new tools to optimize your impact particularly focusing on the concept of 'framing' and we will formulate three focus points for our common challenges in the future of science communication.

The conference takes place on June 11. at the Danish School of Education, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 Copenhagen NV."

If that isn't all perfectly clear, here's some more information on the conference including the programme, registration form and a participants list.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Simon Singh speaks

Unless you've been away or had your head in the sand, you'll most likely have heard that Simon Singh was on the wrong side of a High Court libel verdict a couple of weeks ago. On Monday night some 250+ (possibly as many as 400) people packed into a Holborn pub to show their support and hear what Simon would do next.

The long and the short of it is that, while many were anticipating Simon's decision, he still can't say for certain. While he very much hopes to appeal in the European courts, he and his lawyers remain in discussions, determining whether they have a defensible case or not. He hopes to reach a final decision by 28 May. But he did have this to say (as the New Humanist blog reported):

While mounting an appeal is risky because he may lose, Simon gave three reasons why it is the right option - 1) he might win, 2) he wants his day in court to talk about what the Guardian article actually meant, and 3) most importantly this case is about broader issues that the validity of chiropractic - it is "about the need to be able to write about issues fairly and reasonably without being intimidated". It is something that matters for all journalists, and ties into the wider issues concerning British libel law.
Needless to say, he very much had the support of the crowd and thousands more nationwide and across the interwebs, all of whom are aware that this is about more than just one writer and a single court case.

It was an inspiring evening, with the fabulous attendance matched by a variety of strong speakers, including the comedian and author Dave Gorman, journalist Nick Cohen and Evan Harris MP. One of the most interesting aspects for me was Gorman's admission that he, like many others, knew little of chiropractic and regarded it as just a legitimate form of treatment for back pain. By suing Simon Singh, the British Chiropractic Association has, he said, brought attention to the full range of treatments they offer.

There are already several good accounts of the night in the blogosphere, so I'll point out to a brief selection:

>> New Humanist
>> Dave Gorman's Blog
>> New Scientist blog

The best source for up-to-date information remains the blog of Jack of Kent, the lawyer who has been a staunch supporter of Simon since the beginning.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

ABSW Seminar: Journalism 2.0 - taught by Mike Nagle

ABSW members are invited to attend a training seminar on Tuesday May 26th. Bring along your laptop and be brought up-to-date with some of new methods of working and collaborating using the internet. RSS feeds & readers. Twitter. Pimp your Browser. Collaboration with Google Docs and more. In fact, anything you want - just email Mike your questions beforehand. (Note it isn't intended for broader hardware or software problems with laptops). To take full advantage of this session members need to bring a laptop equipped with working wifi.

The event will be on the Tuesday 26th of May, at Wellcome's meeting rooms on the Euston Road. The event is 6.30pm for 7pm start, and will finish at 8pm, and likely end up in the pub. There is a 2 pound booking fee to secure a place at this event. Light refreshments will be served. This event is likely to be very popular so please book early as numbers will be limited.

To book this event, please complete the form.

Directions to Wellcome.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Say hello to Phrasefinder

I’ll let you into a professional secret, I don’t always think up my own headlines and captions. While "Twin Peaks", the headline to a story about how researchers used twin research to show that genes partly explain why women can't reach orgasm, was all my own sometimes similar inspiration is harder to find. Particularly under pressure of a deadline.
So I started to subscribe to a service called Phrasefinder to help inspire me. It is an online thesaurus but finds phrases rather than single words. You an enter a word related to the subject and using some intelligent searching wizardry it will generate a list of phrases related to the word—many that would be hard to think of straight away. It is a great way of instantly generating a wide variety of options for headlines and captions.
From its sample search on the word “fish”, you would receive many of the obvious phrases such as “Fish out of water”, but also: All at sea; Angle for; Cast a long shadow; Hunky dory; Jail bait; Off the scale; Old trout; Prize catch; Ray of light; Red herring; Whale of a time; Whipper snapper.
Anyway, you don’t have to trust me. Because the ABSW has set up a one-year group subscription for 100 members. If the feedback is good, perhaps it will get renewed or extended. To apply for a subscription to phrasefinder, fill out this form.
Individual subscriptions to this service cost £28
, so anyone using this in their work should find ABSW membership particularly good value. Please note that this offer is not available to lapsed members. However if you are intending to pay your 2009 subscription before May 30th, you may apply for Phrasefinder access indicating this, and you will then have a period of grace in which you can renew your ABSW membership and then receive access details for Phrasefinder.