Science Journalism enters a ‘Golden Age’
PALO ALTO, Calif. – As traditional journalism struggles with challenges posed by instant and sometimes inaccurate reporting via the internet, science journalism has entered a “Golden Age,” said Thomas Hayden, Stanford University professor of science and environmental communication and journalism, during the opening session of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop.
“With the rise of online science journalism, the old feelings of comfort and caution are gone,” Hayden said. “There’s a hunger there and that desperation has helped build a community in science journalism.”
In sharp contrast to traditional science reporting which often focused on the scientific “paper of the week,” today’s science journalism is explanation-driven, Hayden said.
“There were real restrictions and real problems with the old way of science journalism,” Hayden said. “Now, something remarkable has happened. The field as a whole has become much more serious. Science journalists are increasingly acting as investigative journalists. Today, as a result, we find ourselves in an unexpected but most robust development.”
Hayden made his remarks during the July 17-21, 2018, workshop organized by InquireFirst and Fundacion Ealy Ortiz at Stanford University and in San Francisco.
In today’s media environment, much of the science journalism in the U.S. and Latin America is taking place at nonprofit organizations, “all of which are extremely high quality and adventuresome.”
“The health of the field of journalism has never been better,” Hayden said. “But the health of individual journalism organizations is tenuous. We have great quality contrasted against the precarious nature of the industry."
Science journalism programs at universities such as Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, can be part of the solution, Hayden said.
“We have to throw the doors to journalism wide open – to all cultures, to all backgrounds, to all genders, to all races,” he said. “Journalism at its heart is democracy in action. It’s one of the ways that citizens can actually make a difference in their country."
Science journalists also have to collaborate.
“We can’t invent the future of journalism on our own,” Hayden said. “It takes a lot of partnerships to find our way home to a strong science journalism future.”
Andrew Revkin, strategic adviser for science and environmental journalism at The National Geographic Society, called for more collaboration among the region’s science journalists and among organizations such as InquireFirst, International Journalist’s Network and EarthJournalism.net that support science journalism. Read more
Rosalind Reid joins InquireFirst board of directors
We’re pleased to announce that Rosalind Reid, executive and program director for the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW), has joined the InquireFirst board of directors.
Reid’s love of science writing began when she walked into the North Carolina State University news bureau in 1984, discovered physics, and gave up political reporting. Six years later she joined the staff of American Scientist magazine, serving as editor-in-chief from 1992 to 2008 and taking a leave to become the first journalist in residence at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara.
Over her years as a magazine editor, Reid also traveled widely to present workshops on the visual communication of science. That work led to a fellowship at Harvard, where she stayed on to launch an institute devoted to computational science while serving on the board of CASW. Read more
Building Science Journalism Networks Around the World
Enrique Bustamante, director of Mexico City-based Fundación Ealy Ortiz and InquireFirst media partner, challenged science journalists across the globe to build networks to strengthen reporting on science, health, technology and the environment. Bustamante issued the challenge during a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists in San Francisco, California.
New opportunities for Latin American reporters and editors announced during Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Latin American science journalists were presented with a host of new professional development opportunities during the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop at Stanford University.
The June 17-21, 2018 workshop, organized by InquireFirst and Mexico City-based Fundación Ealy Ortiz, focused on training opportunities – with Latin American science journalists as both participants and instructors – as well as steps to form a regional science journalism network.
Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, owner and publisher of the Mexico City daily newspaper El Universal, announced that he is establishing a multi-platform “high-impact” science section with “the highest standards for content and selection of infographics.”
Ealy Ortiz also announced that he is forming an Institute for Science Journalism and International Training which will be headed by Enrique Bustamante, who also serves as director of Fundación Ealy Ortiz. The Institute will offer training to science journalists, researchers, scientists and science communicators, he said.
Ealy Ortiz said he will be providing travel fellowships for Latin American and Caribbean science journalists to attend the 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Read more
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Zika workshop focuses on international collaboration
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Science and health journalism should not be limited by international borders. Complex new health threats such as Zika virus that occur in a “noisy” media environment require a new model of reporting, Andrew Revkin, strategic adviser on science and environmental journalism for The National Geographic Society, told reporters and editors at a regional science journalism workshop organized by InquireFirst in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica.
Revkin was one of several prominent science and environment editors from major U.S. media organizations who traveled to Costa Rica for a March 4-8, 2018, workshop to help journalists hone their science and health reporting skills on public health coverage such as Zika and vector-borne diseases.
The regional workshop titled “Informing About Risks and Prevention of an Epidemic” was attended by 37 science and health journalists from 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Read more
Will the United States continue to be a country where people can turn on the tap and assume the water that comes out is safe and affordable? In this, the first major report in InquireFirst’s long-term drinking water project, reporter Elizabeth Douglass travels to Lake Station, Indiana, to begin answering that question by exploring the growing pressure on cities and towns to privatize their municipal drinking water systems.
View photos by John Nelson/InquireFirst
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