Journalists are just like normal people, except they have attitude. This profession makes a person suspicious by nature. Where is the hidden agenda? Why just now? Who else is involved?
So yes, we wanted to have the adjective critical in the main theme of the World Conference.
We are also the vanishing sort. As economies become knowledge-based, the media is getting rid of journalists with specialties. For this reason many of us are feeling grumpy just now.
But the greater the difficulties, the more eager we are to work. The reason is that we love journalism. Interpreting science to wider audiences makes us useful to society. This job is worth doing. If only everyone else in the world could understand this as clearly as we do.
Academics have long known that knowledge, skills, and ethical rules flow freely in professional networks. Networking is especially important when you want to change your job. But nobody really understands all of the various problems as well as a colleague does.
I see this sense of community among science journalists as a kind of therapy. Suddenly you are surrounded by people who are interested in many things. There is always someone who can explain to you what is happening in the sky – or even better, in the universe. Another scrutinizes rock formations and third is excited about bacteria. Innovation journalists, technology writers, chemistry experts… we come in many shades and colours. Documentaries and museums are exciting, books are great, and what about those maps! Should we see who can take the best photos or shoot masterful videos?
As a chair of the Finnish Association of Science Journalists I knew what to expect this year: the World Conference of Science Journalists at the University of Helsinki. Time is now rushing forward in leaps and bounds.
We will soon start publishing detailed information about the programme and sessions of the conference. This is a good moment to register. There will be big questions on the agenda. Perhaps we will find answers together. If not, we can still enjoy our daily dose of therapy.
Finnish science journalists have prepared a plate with some basics of the profession. Freedom of expression – sometimes scientists and journalists are too hesitant to speak in public even in staunchly democratic countries. Whose fault is it? Denialists, those strange people. Energy – nuclear or something else? Scares, trust, climate issues, new horizons. There are plenty of discussions to look forward to. With attitude.