EUSJA-sessions at the upcoming ESOF in Dublin

The Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) is Europe’s largest general science meeting and is held in a leading European city every two years. It is an interdisciplinary, pan-European meeting, held under the auspices of Euroscience, and the first meeting was held in Stockholm in 2004, followed by Munich (2006), Barcelona (2008) and Turin (2010).

Dublin was awarded the honour of hosting ESOF in 2012, following an open competition. Copenhagen will host then event in 2014. This year, EUSJA board-members will be hosting two sessions:

Speakers Brian Trench, Nadia El-Awady, Wolfgang Goede, Elisabetta Tola, Martin Robbins

This round table debate on the current standing of science journalism includes a panel of experienced journalists, some with decades of specialist involvement in science journalism, and all with strong views and concerns on science journalism. Among the issues affecting the health of science journalism to be considered in this debate are:

  • Increasing direct communication to the public by scientific bodies that is tending to reduce the need for journalist intermediaries
  • Proliferation and diversification of internet news and commentary blurring the distinctions between professional, independent reporting and amateur and partisan coverage
  • Growing perception that the routines of established science journalism are worn-out and that science reporting is too vulnerable to claims of ‘breakthrough’ and ‘world-first’
  • Reduction in specialist staff science journalists due to financial pressures on many media and the restructuring of employment as largely casual, desk-bound and generalist
  • Increasing exposure of generalist journalists to topics with important scientific dimensions (e.g. epidemics, pandemics, ash clouds, extreme weather, water stress)

Speakers Wolfgang Goede, Hanns-Joachim Neubert, Mariko Takahashi, Denis Delbecq, Barbara Drillsma

The catastrophic failure of the Japanese power plant in Fukushima has divided Europe over the future use of nuclear energy. In almost every country, there have been calls to reassess the risks and benefits of nuclear power and to slow down the construction of new power plants.

The European debate raises some critical – and difficult – questions. This workshop will explore the societal, cultural and journalistic concerns. It will look at science journalism coverage of the tensions between science/technology, economical constraints and political purposes using the example of nuclear power and energy in general.

Debaters will trigger an audience discussion about old and new roles for science journalism in democratic processes using the example of nuclear power and energy in general. A final summary may eventually lead to an action plan for a new role for science journalists in societal, scientific and political debates.