WCSJ 2009 Session Reviews

Advocacy science journalism

In this session, three science journalists talked about moments in their careers in which they chose to take a non-objective position in the name of science.

Science and television: Here today, gone tomorrow

At the beginning a showreel was played introducing stories by Jonica Newby, science writer from Australia. These stories covered various fields of science: Medieval Islamic Scientist, Cosmologists, Time and Science, Urban Myth, Story of Oil, Chemistry of Mud, and How the Body Wakes Up. Jonica stressed that although it seems that science TV is thriving, TV-stations during this crisis are more or less closing their science divisions and budget cuts appeared in the beginning of this year. As a consequence filming is not carried out in studios, it has to be done in the natural environment.

Blogs, big physics and breaking news

It's perhaps fitting that as CERN was the site where the World Wide Web had its own big bang that this session should consider the impact that the web, in particular Web 2.0, has been having on CERN's most famous gadget, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The panellists considered how corporate and independent science blogs might be shuffling into place alongside traditional news media in terms of reliability of the information posted there, often anonymously, and whether blogs can be trusted as a news source and appropriately evaluated.

Does science need to be highbrow?

In this session, four journalists from different outlets discussed if reporters should take an elitist and an intellectual stance when writing about science. The consensual answer was 'no'. They all agreed that science journalism cannot afford to be highbrow if it wants to reach the masses.

Turning Africa Into a Hot Spot for Solar Power

Renewable, green, clean, durable, novel—there’s no shortage of adjectives to describe energy produced using the sun, wind, water, geothermal sources, and biofuels. The idea is to switch from fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas to natural resources considered inexhaustible. Many such plans were discussed on 30 June during the Green Energy Technologies workshop at the WCSJ.