“We Need to Join Forces!”: Digest on 1st ECSJ 2014 Copenhagen

In June 2014, the 1st European Conference for Science Journalists ECSJ drew more than 300 participants. The Copenhagen event was organized by the Danish Science Journalists Association Danske Videnskabsjournalister DV […]

1st ECSJ was attended by 300 participants (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

1st ECSJ was attended by 300 participants (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

In June 2014, the 1st European Conference for Science Journalists ECSJ drew more than 300 participants. The Copenhagen event was organized by the Danish Science Journalists Association Danske Videnskabsjournalister DV and the European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations EUSJA. Now our Danish collegues, Berit Viuf and Jens Degett, have produced a summary of the presentations.

The digest is a fine example of journalistic collaboration on the continent and beyond. Strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and risks are assessed. They open out into a road map how to meet the crisis in journalism and science journalism. Prominent science journalists and academicians emphasize the need of joining forces rather than splitting them up, become even more creative and ingenous rather than following old principles.

All in all, as already our Greek mentors 2500 years ago knew: Crisis is also a chance for change, as EUSJA president Satu Lipponen indicated in her impulse. So let’s go for it, colleagues, and please save the date: 2nd ECSJ, Budapest >>> Nov. 4 to Nov 7, 2015, organized by Jens Degett & Istvan Palugyai. The World Science Forum takes place at the same time and provide topics and themes for journalistic work.

Jens Degett, Conference Organizer, Danish Science Journalists (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Jens Degett, Conference Organizer, Danish Science Journalists (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Meanwhile food for thought: Below you find the most intriguing quotes (a tiny bit edited to make them fit) of ECSJ Copenhagen 2014!

Berit Viuf, Producer of 1st ECSJ Digest and Danish Science Journalists (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Berit Viuf, Producer of 1st ECSJ Digest and Danish Science Journalists (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

“WE NEED TO JOIN FORCES! Science is abstract, complicated, non-visual, impersonal; news reporting is concrete, simple, visual, personal and full of action; both ask questions, seek answers, offer insight; this is our common reference and the reason why the couple – science and journalism – fell in love; this love affair will not be easy, as with all couples animated conversations will be part of the process to enlighten the way the general public digest news to foster progress”: Ulla M. Wewer, Dean Faculty of Health Science Copenhagen University

CONFERENCE FOR BEST PRACTICE: “Knowledge is accelerating by astronomic speeds; surveys from Eurobarometer show that science is one of the top priorities for readers, but gatekeepers are not aware of the possibilities to use science and new knowledge; science journalists have to find new solutions”: Jens Degett, President Danish Association of Science Journalists DA

FROM COPENHAGEN TO SEOUL: “Today the role of science journalists should be reinvented. Our role is no longer the center forward of the soccer field who scores the goal, but we should be a middle-fielder who distributes the goals”: Dr. Chul Joong Kim, President World Federation of Science Journalists WCSJ and host of the World Conference of Science Journalists WCSJ 2015 Seoul

Dr Kim, President WFSJ (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Dr Kim, President WFSJ (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Satu Lipponen, President EUSJA (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Satu Lipponen, President EUSJA (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

CHANGING. CRITICAL. TOGETHER: “We have to develop new business models, promote better training and basically grab the opportunities that a changing media landscape also provide – building bridges across  the digital age for professions to survive”: Satu Lipponen, President European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations EUSJA

HOWS TO GET SCIENCE INTO THE NEWS FLOW: “Human society builds on science. To have democracy people need good knowledge. To me today’s science is tomorrow’s politics”: Jan-Olov Johansson, Swedish Science Radio

SNEAK SCIENCE INTO THE NEWS ROOM: “We are journalists that cover science. We should not call ourselves science journalists becaused the title sounds too specific. The task for science journalists will be to sneak the science into the quirky, funny stuff”: Kathryn O’Hara, Chair in Science Broadcast Journalism, Canadian Carleton University

Kathryn O'Hara (r.) and Jan-Olov Johansson (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Kathryn O’Hara (r.) and Jan-Olov Johansson (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Denis Dilba and Georg Dahm (center), Joost van Kasteren (r.), BBC Journalist and moderator Quentin Cooper (l.) (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Denis Dilba and Georg Dahm (center), Joost van Kasteren (r.), BBC Journalist and moderator Quentin Cooper (l.) (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

PUNK ROCK TO SCIENCE – AND HARD WORK: “In the next 15 minutes we will show you how to blow your savings, how to become a PR whore and generally how to work you butt off”: Intro of Georg Dahm & Denis Dilba, creators 1st Tablet Science Magazine SUBSTANZ>https://www.substanzmagazin.de/

WATCHDOGS OR CHEERLEADERS FOR SCIENCE: “We run the risk of widening the already growing knowledge gap in our society. Government and research communities need to support science journalism. Which creates a paradox. Because how can science journalists remain independent if they are paid by the same organizations that they should follow critically and fearlessly? New models that can secure this must  be developed”: Joost van Kasteren, Dutch Freelance Journalist

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!: “It is part of our method to request documents from the authorities in cases where we haven’t got the whole story (applying the Freedom of Information Act): Mette Dahlgaard, Berlingske Daily, Copenhagen

NEW SECRECY UNDER OBAMA: “Access to information  is just as bad, if not worse, than it was under the Bush administration”: Curtis Brainard, Scientific American Blog Editor

THE HERO OR THE VILLAIN?: It is up to you journalists to tell the story, and keep investigating the scientific results and not just ‘copy-paste’ the universites’ press-releases. And the stories you need to tell will probably not have your average hero or villain”: Aarun Micheelsen, former PhD student involved in a Danish Research Center controversy

REPORT ON THE FOREST, NOT TREES: “Frauds make big headlines, but it is also worth to spend time investigating  the reasons beind a hyped research result; factors that drive research behavior are the most important stories”: Nicholos Steneck, Director of Research Ethics and Integrity, Michigan Inst. for Clinical and Health Research

Jacome Armas (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

Jacome Armas (c) Thomas Steen Sørensen

WANTED: MORE FEMALE SCIENTISTS IN THE NEWS: “Women are severely underrepresentated in scientific leadership positions. AcademiaNet can help to find relevant profiles”: Ingrid Wünning Tschol, Bosch Foundation

SHUT UP AND STAY BEAUTIFUL: “In 2014, the Danish media is still governed by men. They hold 80 percent of the positions”: Anita Frank Goth, KVINFO, Danish Center for Information on Gender, Equality and Diversity

NERDY SCIENCE GOES HIPPY: “Cafés scientifiques and science slams are out. A new format, science & cocktails, is attracting non-scientists in crowds”: Jacome Armas, physicist and social inventor, promoter of the format in Copenhagen’s Freetown of Christiana and recipient of the Science Award of the Danish Science Journalists Association DA

Complete Digest 1st ECSJ 

About Wolfgang C. Goede

Wolfgang C. Goede is a science journalist based in Munich, Germany. He is a board member of the German Association of Science Writers TELI.