- How to make better science journalism?
- Gastein Health Forum – two fee waivers and one accomondation available for EUSJA journalists, apply no later than 6.9.!
- New EU calls
- The World Conference of Science Journalists 2025 in South Africa
- Upcoming events for Science Journalists
- News from EUSJA member associations – EUCYS 2023 contest
How to make better science journalism?
The media landscape is undergoing a big transformation with a new kind of challenges. Declining advertising revenues coupled with the rise of social media platforms have significantly impacted media. Less people subscribe magazines or newspapers, less advertisers pay for advertisement in magazines. Science journalism, in particular, has faced longstanding difficulties in many countries. As a freelance science journalist, I feel that the scarcity of resources to produce comprehensive and high-quality content is a huge problem. I can use a lot of time to make a good popular science article to a magazine, but the magazine pays far too little. No wonder many former science journalists work nowadays as press officers for universities etc.
Recent initiatives from the European Union have aimed to revitalize the state of science journalism. Notably, the European Research Council (ERC) has allocated 1.5 million euros to a project designed to enhance the field (https://www.nature.com/articles/d43978-023-00113-9). This endeavor facilitates science journalists’ immersion within research institutes, offering them the opportunity to spend 3-5 months embedded in a chosen research group. The core concept is to foster a symbiotic exchange—journalists receive valuable insights and training from researchers, while researchers benefit from the journalist’s perspective.
During the application phase when I looked at the ERC initiative as a freelance science journalist, my feelings were mixed. I got immediately concerned how the journalistic independence will be preserved. Given the interest of the ERC in promoting the research it has funded (ERC grants), maintaining the journalist’s autonomy becomes pivotal. The project’s structure raises questions about the possibility of a journalist visiting a research group for an extended period without producing any related articles. How to safeguard journalistic integrity? In Finland we have a phrase: ”You sing the songs of the one whose bread you eat”. What if a journalist identifies critical shortcomings in the research institute or other problems — addressing such matters becomes difficult when the journalist gets salary from a research financier. I also wonder could this pattern pave the way for universities to employ journalists in quasi-freelance roles, acting as both independent contributors and press officiers at the same time?
It’s vital that the ERC-funded project acknowledges ethical quandaries. It is important to think these issues carefully. From my standpoint as a freelance science journalist, a more promising direction would involve supporting independent media outlets capable of generating independent science news and narratives. I hope that the new ongoing EU calls (see this newsletter below, European Media Hubs, European Media platforms and Citizen facing European TV and Video News Portal) may offer new opportunities for that. Alternatively, providing grants to freelance journalists for writing and studying scientific issues independently could empower them to delve into scientific subjects they see significant, generating comprehensive and insightful articles.
These are my own personal thoughts as a freelance science journalist. I would like to hear your opinions: join Facebook or write a comment for the next EUSJA newsletter. I think this issue is worth discuss.
If you and your national association have opportunity to arrange a EUSJA study trip to your country, please, do not hesitate to send me email. You are also welcome to write an article to EUSJA newsletter about events etc.
EUSJA = us. I believe in the phrase: ”You also receive when you give”. Hope to hear from you!
Have a nice autumn! I will send next EUSJA letter later this autumn,
Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists
Gastein Health Forum – two fee waivers and one accomondation available for EUSJA journalists!
We got possibility to get two EUSJA journalists to the Gastein Health Forum 26.-29.9.2023. We have two fee waivers for EHFG and cover accommodation costs for one (maybe this could be also one room for two).
I you are interested in participating and getting fee waiver, please send email no later than 6.9. to maripheikkila(—-)gmail.com and write a very short description why this conference would be important to you as a science journalist.
See European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) 2023 conference programme with detailed session information: https://www.ehfg.org.
About Gastein Health Forum:
Jointly organised with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, and in collaboration with the European Commission and, for the first time this year, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, our 26th edition features three thematic tracks. The first, “Building shock-proof systems” will discuss how to shape healthcare systems that have the flexibility to anticipate, adapt, and respond to emerging crises. The “Health policy at a crossroads” track will debate how we can maintain momentum for an ambitious union for health, while sessions in the “Innovation for a resilient future” track will explore the transformative potential of innovative solutions for the challenges we face and shed light on the controversies that surround them.
New EU calls! European Media Hubs, European Media platforms and Citizen facing European TV and Video News Portal
The European Commission has opened three new calls with which it allocates a total of 16.5 million euros to support projects that promote pluralism of information, the production of innovative media content and better access to multilingual information for EU citizens.
You can contact Italian EUSJA delegate Cynthia Boschiero cinziaboschiero(—)gmail.com (www.ecpartners.it), if you have for example editorial media contact and you would like to participate to some of these EU calls. She has partners from other states who want to proceed.
The EU Calls are as follows:
1.European Media Hubs 2023
The objective of this call is to help increase the production and “consumption” of independent and pluralistic information on European issues across the EU. To this end, the call supports the creation or development of European-level media hubs (such as physical or virtual cross-border newsrooms) enabling joint editorial production and common content offerings on European policies between different media organizations across Europe.
The call is aimed at news media organizations and other organizations active in the media sector.
The projects, which must have a duration of 24 months, must be presented by a consortium made up of at least 5 organizations from 5 different eligible countries, i.e. EU states or candidate and potential candidate countries.
The budget available for the call is € 8,000,000 with which it is expected to finance 2-3 projects. Each project may be supported up to 80% of the total eligible costs for a grant between €1,500,000 and €4,000,000.
The deadline for submitting proposals is 25 September 2023.
2- European Media Platforms 2023
The call provides €6,000,000 to support the creation and development of European media platforms that improve citizens’ access to reliable and multilingual information across the Union and stimulate the production of innovative content through tools that use technologies such as artificial intelligence, the blockchain, research tools and advanced algorithms.
The call is open to legal entities established in EU countries that are information media organisations, media technology developers, other organizations active in the media field (museums and libraries, if the use of their materials brings clear added value to the content offer).
Projects must be submitted by a consortium involving at least 3 organisations, whose content offer is available in at least 5 EU languages.
The EU Commission expects to finance around 3 projects lasting 12-15 months.
Each project may be supported up to 80% of the total eligible costs for a maximum of €2,500,000.
The call deadline is October 18, 2023
3- Citizen facing European TV and Video News Portal
The call finances a pilot project that aims to strengthen the EU’s autonomy in the media sector, addressing the current technological challenges and opportunities that allow to provide citizens and media professionals with a wider range of information content.
The project will enable the creation of a platform that facilitates people’s access to various online information contents provided by TV broadcasters and online information platforms, while also preparing to exploit the potential of new technologies, including augmented reality contents and multimedia formats of Next exit.
The call is aimed at legal entities established in EU states such as: media and entertainment/infotainment companies, TV broadcasters, online content/information platforms, technology companies, educational service providers and information service providers.
The project must be implemented by a consortium made up of at least 5 entities from 4 different eligible countries. The EU contribution may cover up to 80% of the total eligible costs of the selected project for a maximum of €2,500,000.
The deadline for submitting applications is 30 September 2023.
The World Conference of Science Journalists 2025 in South Africa
The next World Conference of Science Journalists in 2025 will be held in Pretoria, administrative Capital of South Africa, carrying the theme Science Journalism and Social Justice – our role in promoting resilience. See more information on WFSJ webpages: https://wfsj.org/world-conference-on-science-journalists/.
World Conference of Science Journalists in 2027 will be held in London, United Kingdom. The theme will be of Building Global Networks for a Stronger Profession. The event will mark the80th anniversary of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW).
Upcoming events for Science journalists
24.-29.9.2023 Heidelberg Laureate Forum
The Heidelberg Laureate Forum is an annual networking conference where 200 carefully selected young researchers in mathematics and computer science have the unique chance to meet distinguished scientists in their fields for one week of interdisciplinary academic dialogue. Attending journalists will have the exclusive opportunity to interview renowned laureates from mathematics and computer science, both in press panels and one-on-one. Accreditation for journalists until September 22, 2023. Read more: https://www.heidelberg-laureate-forum.org/
26.-29.9.2023 European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) 2023
Jointly organised with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, and in collaboration with the European Commission and, for the first time this year, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, our 26th edition features three thematic tracks. The first, “Building shock-proof systems” will discuss how to shape healthcare systems that have the flexibility to anticipate, adapt, and respond to emerging crises. The “Health policy at a crossroads” track will debate how we can maintain momentum for an ambitious union for health, while sessions in the “Innovation for a resilient future” track will explore the transformative potential of innovative solutions for the challenges we face and shed light on the controversies that surround them. See more information: https://www.ehfg.org.
25.-27.10.2023 CONFERENCE IN SPAIN: IX Conference of Social Communication of Science (CCSC23), Granada Science Park (hybrid)
The Conference of Social Communication of Science is one of the most important scientific, health and environmental communication and journalism events in Spain. Every two years, it invites more than 400 professionals, including scientific, health and environmental journalists and communicators in the media and social networks, universities, research centres, science museums, public administration and the private sector. The theme of this year is: “Unity makes science”. Read more: https://aecomunicacioncientifica.org/ccsc23/
7.-9.11.2023 Falling Walls Science Summit Berlin
Science breakthroughs of the year 2023: Three-day program will include inspiring keynotes, thought-provoking discussions, and exciting pitches from some of the most innovative minds in science and technology, exploring how scientific breakthroughs can pave the way towards a more equitable and sustainable future. For those unable to attend in person, we will be providing opportunities to participate digitally via livestream. Read more: https://falling-walls.com/science-summit/
News from EUSJA member associations
if have some news/issues/events/happenings which would be interesting also for other EUSJA member associations, you can write a report and send email maripheikkila(—-)gmail.com. I will attach your report to EUSJA Newsletter.
EUCYS 2023 contest Cinzia Boschiero, Italy
The great final EUCYS 2023 contest will take place at the Square in Brussels, Belgium from 13 to 17 September (https://eucys2023.eu). The Italian selection for the 35th competition of the European Union for young scientists was held in Milan at March 2023. Over two hundred students from various Italian regions took part in the 34th edition of the Italian selection of the European competition “Youth and science 2023” of the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission.
“This year we invited for the italian selection 33 projects to the exhibition open to the public. The stands were created by both Italian and foreign students (14-20 years old) to present their inventions, projects, studies and research. The foreing students were invited to let italian students meet young inventors also from other countries. The female presence has increased over the years, this year there are 33 female students present among the geniuses”, explains Dr. Alberto Pieri, secretary general of FAST – Federation of Scientific and Technical Associations. FAST has been organizing the Italian national selection for the European competition “EUCYS-European Union Contest for Young Scientists” since 1989.
The “EUCYS -EU Contest for Young Scientists” gives students the opportunity to compete with the best of their contemporaries at European level; to meet others with similar abilities and interests; to get guidance from some of the most prominent scientists in Europe. It highlights the best of European scientific student achievements and attracts widespread media interest. The contest is an initiative of the European Commission, DG Research under the Science and Society programme. It is set up to promote the ideals of cooperation and information exchange among young scientists of all the 27 EU countries. In each EU State there is a national selection and then the best students with their projects participate every year to the European final. The winners that will represent Italy at the European final are the inventors of three very innovative projects: the “NutriBeanPlus+” project by students Pietro Ciceri (2006) and Noemi Marianna Pia (2005), from ‘Istituto Superiore Ascanio Sobrero, Casale Monferrato (AL) in collaboration with the student Davide Lolla (2005) of the Marconi Institute, Tortona (AL) who developed a nutraceutical use of chickpeas and soy as a new source for vegetable flours with antioxidant power; the project entitled “Parkinson Detector: Artificial Intelligence at the service of medical diagnosis” by the student Tommaso Caligari (2006), of the ITI Omar, Novara, who devised a non-invasive system, without clinical risks to reduce the diagnostic times of the disease; and the project “Operating systems: foundations for a new world” by the student Filippo Mutta (2006), of the IIS Tron Zanella, Schio (VI) who created an effective operating system for telephones, PCs, Internet against the risks of “behind the fifth”.