One of the most prestigious prizes in science journalism has been renamed after Steve Connor who has been hailed as “the greatest science journalist of his generation” following his death just over a year ago.
The Association of British Science Writers has renamed its investigative journalism prize the Steve Connor Award for Investigative Journalism in honour of Connor, who died aged 62.
Connor was the ABSW Awards’ most frequent winner, claiming a total of seven prizes during his career –more than any other science journalist.
Connor was previously science editor at the Independent but left when it closed its print publication in 2016 to go freelance, writing for the i paper, New Scientist, Daily Telegraph, Times and Sunday Times.
His stories regularly made the front pages of UK newspapers before his death in November 2017.
He was posthumously awarded the Science and Health prize at the British Journalism Awards, held in December 2017, for his world exclusive report on gene editing that was a splash for the i paper earlier that year.
BBC science correspondent Pallab Ghosh, who is also honorary president of the ABSW, said: “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…
“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.”
Ghosh added: “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.”
Connor claimed his first ASBW award in 1985 and his last, the Lifetime Achievement in Science Journalism, in 2018.
The awards’ next top winners are Ian Sample and Tim Radford, both of The Guardian, with five each. Overall, there have been some 372 winners since records began for the awards in 1966
The ABSW Awards are now open for entries for 2019. There are a number of prizes this year for science and technology, including best innovation and best local and regional press, for which winners receive £1,000.