When the niche of a species changes, it needs to adapt if it is to avoid extinction. Journalism is changing, and science journalists need to react to the financial forces of declining circulations, news room staff cuts and a growing number of freelancers competing for fewer assignments.
The two speakers and moderator of this panel are all well-respected academics who teach science journalism and who have considerable personal experience as science journalists. They will share their vision on what kind of changing media landscape science journalism students venture into. And how university writing programs need to adapt to deliver graduates with the skills to brave this new landscape.
As a new generation of science reporters are expected to perform a variety of journalistic roles, Declan Fahy will discuss strategies for training journalism students to be not just explainers and conduits of scientific news, but to be critics and curators of scientific information. Holger Wormer leads a team of science journalists who critique science and health reporting in the general media, and will discuss how science journalists are changing the journalistic environment.
Stronger science journalism starts with stronger science journalists who have been taught the right skills: training of general journalists who cover the science beat, training of scientists and science students who want to venture into journalism, and training of science journalists to do more and better investigative journalism. This session will answer questions like: should skills be taught in the workplace or at university, is there a demand in the media market for niche specialist journalists, and is there enough interest from students for science journalism training in universities?
Frank Nuijens (@franknu) from the Netherlands is editor-in-chief of the university newspaper Delta and the science/alumni magazine Delft Integraal/ Outlook at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Before that he was a science journalist for programmes on Dutch public television, radio and the science news website. He is a lecturer in science journalism at Delft University of Technology, was a member of the executive committee of the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) 2009 in London, and of the program committee of the WCSJ 2011 in Doha. He edits the science journalism online course of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ).
Connie St Louis (@stlouisc) from UK is director of City University London’s Science Journalism MA, and an award-winning freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist. She presents and produces a range of programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. She writes for numerous outlets including the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, BBC On Air magazine and BBC Online. She worked for the BBC for sixteen years. Her production highlights during that time include securing Bill Gates’ first British interview and being invited to produce the 1997 Reith Lectures written by Professor Patricia J Williams.
Declan Fahy (@fahydeclan) from Ireland is assistant professor at the School of Communication, American University, Washington, D.C. His core research interests are new methods, means and models of science journalism; the journalistic reporting of knowledge and complexity; and the media portrayal of scientists as celebrities and public intellectuals. His scholarship has been published in Journalism, Journalism Studies, Nature Chemistry, Science Communication, Health Promotion Practice and Irish Communications Review. He has worked as a journalist for the Irish Times and Irish Daily Mirror newspapers. His recent journalistic output has appeared online at the Columbia Journalism Review.
Holger Wormer from Germany is an ordinary Professor of Science Journalism at the Institute and School of Journalism at Dortmund University (Germany). He studied chemistry (with emphasis on environmental chemistry) and philosophy in Heidelberg, Ulm and Lyon (France). Between 1996 and 2004 he was Science Editor at the German nationwide newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. There he specialized in life sciences and environmental issues as well as on (often investigative) reporting on ethics and quality in science and medicine. Since 1986 he has worked also as a freelance journalist for many media, e.g. German Press Agency (dpa), WDR-Radio and the P.M.-Magazine (Gruner+Jahr). So far he has taught science journalism and science communication to several hundred journalists and scientists in professional training courses. His research projects focus mainly on the quality and ethics of science reporting (latest project: www.medien-doktor.de). For his work he has won several journalism awards, such as the “Journalist of the Year” award (Top 3 in the category of science journalism) of the medium-magazin. His latest book: “Endlich Mitwisser!” KiWi- Verlag, Cologne won the “Science book of the year” award for 2012 in Austria.