UKCSJ2018 to focus on new emerging technologies and digital innovations in science and tech reporting

The fast pace of technological change means the way we work is evolving faster than ever.

Reporters are now often required to be fluent in multimedia, and editors encouraged to innovate and experiment with new software and hardware tools. Old media business models are continuing to be challenged as new ones emerge and are being tested. No one knows which of these experiments or technologies, if any, will eventually win out and become the new norm.

As a result of the development of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, we’re going through what some are calling the third disruption in journalism, following two previous major changes brought about by internet and mobile phones. Freelance rates stagnate as automation is starting to take over some of our work.

We cannot ignore these changes that are starting to make their way into media and our workflow, some helping us report and write more efficiently, others threatening to make our work obsolete.

So how do we remain relevant in the face of change? What are the principles and skills we need to stay successful or leapfrog and become the savvy digital journalists that will thrive in the coming years and decades?

The UK Conference of Science Journalists 2018 will aim to address these questions, presenting some the latest thinking and R&D work in digital media from thought leaders and practitioners at major news outlets and universities, with a focus on their applications in science, technology and medical reporting.  

The conference will present and discuss new and emerging challenges and opportunities posed by innovations and new tools, including:

Artificial intelligence, augmented newsrooms, algorithm-assisted reporting, sensor journalism, drone journalism, virtual and augmented reality, mobile and immersive journalism, automated fact checking and transcription, voice-activated interactive journalism, and much more…

This will include panel discussions on issues such as:

Artificial intelligence applications in newsrooms and science writing bots,

Algorithmic bias and accountability,

Virtual and augmented reality applications in science journalism.

It will also include a skills stream, with sessions on:

Sensor journalism,

Drone journalism,

Mobile journalism,

and 360 video.

Other sessions will address more traditional and ongoing issues such as how to succeed as a freelance science writer, how to write and edit great science features, how to integrate data journalism and visualizations into stories, and how to effectively fact check articles in the world of fake news, ‘alternative facts’ and pseudoscience.

Confirmed speakers so far are:

Stuart Allan, Professor and Head of the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, UK

Caelainn Barr, Editor, Data projects, Guardian News & Media, UK

Nicholas Diakopoulos, Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Northwestern University where he is Director of the Computational Journalism Lab, US

Mark Egan, Mobile Journalism Trainer with Purple Bridge Media

Sam Han, PhD, Engineering Director, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, The Washington Post, US

Joshua Hatch, 2017-18 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT; Assistant Managing Editor for Data and Interactives at the Chronicle of Higher Education, former president of Online News Association

Louis Jebb, Founder and Chief Executive, Immersivly Ltd

Anetta Jones, Virtual Reality Producer at The Guardian

Sarah Jones, Head of the Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University. Her practice and research sits within emerging technologies and the development of immersive experiential films.

Sabine Louët, founder of SciencePod, Ireland

Robert McKenzie, Editor, BBC News Labs, UK

John Mills, co-founder of Media Innovation Studio, The University of Central Lancashire's School of Journalism and Media, UK

Martin Robbins, Head of Product, Factmata, UK

Matthew Schroyer, founder of Professional Society of Drone Journalists, US

Griselda Serra, CEO of One Big Robot media development company, Spain

Matt Waite, a pioneer in the drone journalism industry, professor of practice at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US

The conference will take place on Tuesday 16th October 2018 at the Francis Crick Institute in London, with sponsorship from Eurekalert!, an online, global news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It is expected to attract up to 450 delegates, including journalists, press officers, academics and students.