Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists started a process to get the World Conference os Science Journalists in June 16, 2007. I was among the initiators, it was my 57th anniversary.
This journey has lasted six years. It started slowly soon after the 6th World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne, although the first seeds were sown already in Montréal 2004. The succesful event was a turning point also to FASEJ which decided to join to the World Federation of Science Journalists. I participated also the Budapest WCSJ where a clear need for a world organisation was declared.
Our first attempt to bid for the WCSJ was in London 2009. We did not win the game then but we achieved valuable experience about the process. Of course we were disappointed for a while but we were happy for the winning Arab-American team.
Soon after the London conference we started again. We had ready a planning scheme and a structure how to organise the event, create an excellent programme and how to finance it. Deborah Blum and Dadia El-Awady offered us a possibility to organise a plenary discussion in the WCSJ2011 in Cairo. It was an interesting and useful subproject for the goal: the WCSJ2013 in Helsinki.
The course of history is known afterwards – you never know what happens next. The uprising of Egyptian people and fight for democracy – shortly said – forced to change the plans and the site of 7th World Conference of Science Journalist. The conference was moved to Doha, Qatar.
The revolutionary process in the Tahrir square in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt showed the power of the social media and especially Twitter. I found soon that I can create my own news agency in Twitter. By following journalists, researchers, commentators and activists I could get a diversified flow of news and other information.
The revolution in Egypt influenced also to our bidding process. By combining ideas from the Elightenment period from the 17th century with experiences from the Tahrir square I developed a slogan for the Finnish bid: Critical questioning in the public sphere. Now, it is the theme of the 8th World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki.
Welvome to Helsinki – enjoy and feel light nights of Midsummer and get inspired of the programme and meeting of 850 colleagues from all corners of the Internet and the world!
President, World Federation of Science Journalists