UPDATE AUGUST 4:
A search of the bot internet WayBack Machine reveals that in 2004 Ms. St Louis described herself only as the presenter, not as a producer, of the ‘Life As…’ series for which Ms. Wright had won the prize two years earlier.
I returned to the Science Unit in 1999 to begin my presentation career with a new series. LIFE BEFORE BIRTH a joint R4 /world service commission which charts the scientific and medical developements from birth to death. This is presently in its third series.
Connie St Louis is a freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist. She is director of City University London’s Science Journalism MA.
Connie St Louis is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, academic, writer and scientist. She presents and produces a range of health programmes for radio including BBC Radio’s 4 landmark seven ages of man series, “Life as…”
For the first time the producer in the science unit Erika Wright broke with the traditional and ethically way that programmes from the science unit we’re entered for the Glaxo smith Kline / ABSW prize and submitted the programmes that were jointly made just in her name. She realised that this was wrong and she recognised my contribution as presenter and writer of the scripts for the programme and we shared and divided the prize. However, she neglected to ask the organisers to add my name to the prize.
Email from Connie St. Louis, re her City University CV‘s claim of winning the prize for ‘Life As A Teenager’ actually won by producer Erika Wright; the above claims are factually false, Ms. Wright committed no ethical breaches, submitted the entry in the normal way, won the prize, and had no duty to amend it or add Ms. St. Louis’ name to it in any way.
With Tim Hunt, sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Connie St. Louis, whose reports of ‘no laughing’ and ‘deathly silence’ have now been shown to be a lie, has still not apologized in the matter. She was exposed, early on in the affair, by a forensic piece of investigative journalism by the reporter Guy Adams, as having invented much of her CV. This was hugely important at the time, as I had not yet found witnesses, photos or audio that could prove that Sir Tim Hunt was telling the truth about his brief toast in Seoul (2-3 minutes duration, not 5-7 as Ms. St. Louis falsely reported). Back then, credibility was very important. City University removed her CV from their website but said they would stand by her, as did the Association of British Science Writers.
City University, London, have now published Ms. St. Louis’s ‘updated’ CV. It is still wrong.
Does it matter that the first “reporter” of the Sir Tim Hunt lie is still teaching journalism? I think it does. In a way, this story, at first about proving the Hunt reporting false, has moved on to being one about ethics – and discrimination. Sir Tim and Ms. St. Louis were treated very differently by their academic institutions. UCL got it wrong with Sir Tim, and City University got it partly right with Ms. St. Louis. Whereas UCL jumped on the basis of a lying tweet and a campaign by Professor David Colquhoun, with Dean of Life Sciences Prof Geraint Rees tweeting about a colleague before even speaking to him, City did not blindly believe reporting.
That was the right thing to do. They took their time and spoke to Ms. St. Louis. However, she is not being open and truthful either then or now. She is still claiming under ‘awards and prizes’ the award given to another person, the producer Erika Wright, for ‘Life as A Teenager,’ a landmark radio show that Ms. St. Louis was just the presenter on.
In a sensational email, on the record, Ms. St. Louis falsely claims that she actually won this prize, and that Ms. Wright committed multiple ethical breaches; that Ms. Wright broke with tradition to claim a joint prize singly, that did not belong to her, and that Ms. Wright further failed to correct the record by not noting who really did win that prize. “add my name to the prize”
Such a claim of an ethics breach would be highly damaging if it were at all true, which it absolutely is not. Ms. Wright as a past winner served on the panel the following year judging the next year’s winners. Ms. St. Louis’s false charge is all the more graceless and remarkable because it would appear that Ms. Wright had been very kind about Ms. St. Louis’ false claims, and Ms. St. Louis was told that in advance. A BBC spokesman had said
“The awarding of the prize was in the producer’s name, but Connie was involved and as such it would not seem unreasonable for her to put it on her CV.”
The BBC of course did not award this prize; they therefore have no standing to say who should or should not claim it; so my inference is that this generous quote reflected the thoughts of Ms. Wright. (it was an Association of British Science Writers’ prize).
Ms. St. Louis was given that gracious quote in advance. However, her reply to this generosity was to falsely accuse the actual winner of ethics breaches both in her entry of the show and her subsequent behaviour. Connie St. Louis wrote:
For the first time the producer in the science unit Erika Wright broke with the traditional and ethically way that programmes from the science unit we’re entered for the Glaxo smith Kline / ABSW prize and submitted the programmes that were jointly made just in her name. She realised that this was wrong and she recognised my contribution as presenter and writer of the scripts for the programme and we shared and divided the prize. However, she neglected to ask the organisers to add my name to the prize. [Sic]
It cannot be stressed strongly enough that this is an absolute falsehood. Ms. Wright committed no ethics breaches; she and she alone won the award. When asked about this claim of ethics breaches the BBC refuted it very strongly.
A BBC spokesman said
We are unaware of these allegations. Any suggestion that the proper process wasn’t followed around the 2002 award is untrue.
The false accusation that Ms. Wright broke with “the traditional and ethically way” [sic] that entries were made to the prize is factually false.The BBC has a process, and Ms. Wright as producer was the sole winner. In this link you can see previous BBC Science entries made for the producer of any show submitted to the awards.
Ms. St. Louis is here flinging vile accusations, without a shred of evidence to support them, at a former colleague who has been kinder to her than she deserves. Is that who City University Journalism students deserve to have designing their MA? A ‘journalist’ who not only reports lies and steals credit, but accuses other journalists of ethics breaches for prizes they actually won?
At some point universities have a duty to examine what they offer to students, not just a loyalty to staff.
Ms. St. Louis also accused City University for being responsible for the false information on her CV, such as that she wrote for papers she never wrote for:
My cv has not been changed. The information that was put on the website by the university was part of online profile trial it was inaccurate and scraped from places that were old and inaccurate. I had no Idea that this incorrect information was publicly available until I was asked about it last month. This information was removed as soon as possible.This profile is in the form of that the university stipulates. It is the first time I have written a profile for the university website.
This is, of course, absolute and total rubbish. Ms. St. Louis stood for election to the World Federation of Science Journalists on the same false CV. She submitted that CV to them. WCSJ2015, which sold conference tickets falsely calling her an ‘award-winning scientist’, is the conference of WFSJ – they are one and the same.
Ms. St. Louis was elected on a fraudulent CV and the WFSJ removed the same from their website to protect her. I do not include a link as the CV has personal details on it, but it has been archived.
City University needs to ask some ethical questions. Ms. St Louis is now on the Board of a World Federation of Science Journalists, elected by her peers on a CV that has been proven to be full of lies. It is not out-of-date – it is invented. Why did she falsely claim to write for papers she has not written for? Why does she put “Member of the Royal Institute” on her CV? These are not ‘out of date’ errors they are Jayson Blair style fiction.
Finally, Ms. St. Louis is a former President of the Association of British Science Writers. They were the award-giving body to ‘Life As a Teenager’. They supported her after her false CV was revealed. There is a huge conflict of interest in these ‘Science Journalism’ bodies acting improperly to cover up false reporting by one of their own.
Ms. St. Louis is, further, being covered up for by the Guardian newspaper. As her emails show, she is not at all a good writer; she writes with appalling grammar, yet positions herself as a senior journalist. Of course she is not likely to have lots of print journalism experience as she falsely claimed as she cannot write. There is an issue with the Guardian so heavily editing her wretchedly poorly written article slamming Sir Tim Hunt (and further lying about what he said). Here is the original.
First, a handmaidenesqueinterview in the Observer at Hunt’s lovely house in rural Hertfordshire. The interview is full of lovely anecdotes of Hunt doing the grocery shopping and cooking (a modern reconstructed man?). It ends with what can only be describes as a ‘whining’ platform.
“A whining platform”?
But because I thought it might happen and there might be a possibility that too much attention was turned on Hunt. [sic]
It goes on.
I asked the Royal Society, who is in charge of these matters in the UK funded by the taxpayer;
The Nobel eight’s idiotic attempt to orchestrate and equate the upset caused by Hunt’s ill advised and sexist comments with some kind of ‘academic chilling’.
Ohhh-kay. I’m sure they are all absolute idiots, as you say. ‘to orchestrate and equate the upset caused’ – well, if i can detangle some English sense out of that, Ms. St. Louis, I rather think that this was your role, was it not?
Connie St. Louis needs to apologise to both Erika Wright and Sir Tim Hunt. She accused them both falsely. She also ought not to be designing an MA course in journalism, or sitting on the WFSJ or ABSW boards, either. I will assume since City University didn’t care about her false CV, they won’t mind their students being taught by a woman who falsely accuses her colleague of stealing a joint prize through unethical behaviour (although I hope I am wrong). I assume that WFSJ, with Curtis Brainard, Deborah Blum, and Ivan Oransky all involved in its governance, is OK both with its members being deceived in an election and a new Board member lying about another journalist’s prize and that journalist’s ethics; same with ABSW who know perfectly well that Erika Wright correctly submitted her entry and won the award.
But all of that does not speak well to the ethics and standing of Connie St. Louis. Rather, it speaks very poorly to the ethics of the top brass at the World Federation of Science Journalists and at the Association of British Science Writers (if the latter now stand by her). Whether City University do anything to prevent their students being taught journalism by a lecturer who makes wholly false allegations against another science journalist, and wrongly claims that person’s prize, we shall see. They have a duty to their students. At this point Ms. St. Louis’ wrongful behaviour is already on the record. It is the behaviour of the institutions around her that is looking more and more unethical.