WCSJ 2009 News

30. Climate change coverage: The messy marriage of science, policy, and politics

In 2009, global climate change heats up on the international stage. The United Nations will attempt to hammer out a new international treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions, culminating in the Copenhagen meeting in December. The world will be watching for a strong signal from the new American President and Congress that the United States is ready to move forward after eight years of inaction by the Bush Administration. At the same time, the issue of climate change has enormous competition from other global issues, from an economic meltdown to food shortages. How well are the media in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world doing in covering the science and policy choices? Or are journalists just falling into old patterns by emphasizing the drama and covering climate change like a political horse race?

24. A picture of health? Who shapes public opinion on pharma?

Strand: Biomedical Strand

Website: Wellcome Trust

The public reputation of the pharmaceutical industry has fallen precipitously over the last decade, according to opinion surveys, along with the industry’s market capitalization. Does the industry deserve this loss in public support, or has the media played a role in it, by portraying drug companies in a negative light? This panel will discuss public perceptions of the drug industry, and ask: is press coverage too critical of it — or not critical enough?

El capullo de Darwin

A 150 años de haber publicado su teoría sobre el origen de las especies, el científico Charles Darwin sigue vigente.

Journalists Who Change the World

Source: WFSJ Science Journalism blog

We talk these days about the future of science journalism, by which we usually mean its migration from traditional habitats – printed words on paper, radio stations on the dial, television networks – into the 21st century landscape. Most of us see that landscape as a technological one, transformed by blogging and webcasting, Twitter and Facebook, and possibilities to be yet invented.

But as journalism evolves into a product of new media, it’s important to also consider not only what will change – also what we should keep. Lovers of language, who can turn an ordinary event into a compelling story, are still needed. Talented science writers who make a complex experiment accessible to those without science training remain invaluable. And investigative reporters provide an essential service that, I hope, will never disappear.

I was reminded of the last point during last month’s World Conference of Science Journalists in London, where I moderated a panel called “Four Journalists Who Changed the World.” It’s an ambitious concept, don’t you think? Yet, the journalists on the panel – from Nigeria, Canada, Japan and the United States – lived up to the billing.

Read the full story: Journalists Who Change the World