This newsletter will focus on Tuesday’s offerings in the conference, but first a general note: in recent days we have received loads of new registrations and would like to encourage everyone who is still planning to come to Helsinki to act now. The best events fill in fast and some are already full. Some of the hotels are also already fully booked.
Everybody is attending – don’t miss the best conference of the year!
The theme of the first conference day, Tuesday, is “Our common values”, and here are some highlights of the day:
Mr. Hans Rosling, professor of International Health at KI and co-founder of Gapminder Foundation, will deliver the plenary speech titled “A fact-based world view – people, money & energy”.
Morning plenary: What about ethics?
The morning plenary What about ethics? opens the floor for discussion on some of the key questions pertaining to our common values in practicing the journalistic profession. In a field where integrity is about more than technical accuracy and descriptions of scientific data, what values should be present – and which ones might be missing – when we bring forward scientific discussions?
Three keynote speakers will present their views on how the ethical codes of journalism work in connection with science.
Juha Kere will talk about the risks involved in communicating scientific information to the general public and Deborah Blum will raise the question of basketball trøye NBA whether journalists have fostered modern chemophobia in the way that they have been reporting on the chemical world, with the emphasis on bad news. Ulla Järvi, a medical journalist from Finland, will briefly describe what happened within the Finnish scientific community and international medical journals in 2011–2013, when Finnish researchers tried to publish their results on the connection between vaccinations for H1N1 swine flu, and narcolepsy.
Denialism has been defined as “choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth”. In today’s world, science writers need to be aware of the influence of anti-science efforts on the topics they cover, since science denialism efforts have spread more quickly and widely in recent years, aided by the Internet and social media.
The panel titled The Mind of a Killer, the Science behind Guns and Violence discusses how science journalists can help resolve problems related to the enormous media coverage of mass shootings from Newtown to Norway by going over the latest research on gun violence and by pointing out the many opportunities the journalists have to make sense of the senseless.
With journalists doubling as PR writers, public trust in science communication is on the line. The session Wearing many hats? How to preserve independence will feature an animated discussion in which the audience itself will be seated in a manner resembling a session of the boisterous British House of Commons. Sparked by the results of a new survey that explores the blurring boundaries between science PR and science journalism, participants will be invited to square off in a heated debate.
Session organisers Peter Vermij and Hans van Maanen have created anonline survey to find out beforehand which other hats science journalists are wearing these days. Please consider taking part in this quick survey; results of the survey will be presented in this session!
European School of Oncology invites participants to join two leading international experts to hear about 10-point action plan drafted by the World Oncology Forum to reverse the current explosion in new cancer cases, to secure appropriate treatment and support for all people with cancer, and to find effective cures.
Under the title Saving lives in cancer: averting a global epidemic, Clive Cookson, the Science Editor of The Financial Times, and his panel will examine how journalists can help shift the way cancer stories are framed, from a heavy focus on potential cures that rarely deliver, to a critical discussion of the proven strategies and concerted global action that could ensure that governments deliver on their promises. Everybody is asked to participate the discussion!
This event is limited to 30 persons only, on first-come, first-served basis. The trip to the garden starts from the University’s Think Corner in the Porthania Building.
The plenary, titled Critical questioning in the public sphere – the role of science journalists, aims to provide a forum for us to consider the challenges we face and our role in a world where there has never been a greater need for high quality science journalism.
The bulk of the session is led by the audience but it will be ignited with brief talks by two experienced journalists, Pallava Bagla from India and Veronique Morin from Canada about their approach to science journalism.
Drawing on examples from their own work they will explain how they feel their role is to “kick ass” and why that has been a force for good in an age where there is so much communication/propagandising of science, especially by the emerging Science Media Centres across the world.
This will be followed by responses from two upcoming science journalists Mohammed Yahia from Egypt and Lucy Calderon from Guatemala on how much time they are able to devote to critical and investigative journalism in their roles.
Cooperation in medical science – a special session with GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare has gathered top-notch panelists from the worlds of media, academia and industry to debate and discuss gloablly interesting developments in medicine in a 60-minute interactive panel discussion, including questions from the audience, and followed by canapés and drinks.
The highlight of Tuesday’s social programme is a reception by City of Helsinki followed by an educationally adventurous city orienteering challenge ending at the iconic Bio Rex movie theatre with short films and surprise nibbles.
Science at Midnight – in the forest
As WCSJ2013 takes place during the peak of the white nights of Finnish summer, there will be sunlight available around the clock. The participants can take a unique advantage of the sunlight in the night by participating in our Midnight in the forest event.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will be well remembered long after the conference. After this session, you will never look at a pine tree the same way again.
WCSJ2013’s versatile conference programme continues until Friday
In our upcoming newsletters along the week, we will continue with the highlights of the conference. The full programme and details about the social activities are available online at wcsj2013.org.
We look forward to meeting you at WCSJ2013 in Helsinki!
WCSJ2013 is organised by the Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists and the World Federation of Science Journalists with substantial aid from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and University of Helsinki.