WCSJ 2009 Session Reviews

Ready or not: let’s wait a while!

Do we need to be reminded that genetics has undergone an amazing revolution for the last decade? Since the first human genomes were decoded in 2002 - after 10 years of research and a staggering bill of more than 1 billion dollars - the sequecing technology, which allows for a full genome to unfold, has followed Moore’s law: becoming faster and cheaper by a factor of 10 each year. 

Cancer: a moving target- too fast for cancer journalism

The financial downturn may have knocked health off the top spot of the news agenda, but cancer is still considered the number one health concern by the British public. In the minds of the general reader, cancer remains a killer at large and science is far from finding a cure. Fear drives the relentless coverage which bounces between cures, failures, hope and despair.

Advising government

WCSJ 2009 wound up with a final plenary discussion led by Pallab Ghosh, BBC science correspondent and president of the World Federation of Science Journalists, and three prominent figures in science policy development. John Beddington, Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) to the UK government, Patrick Cunningham, CSA to the Irish government and Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman of Qatar Science & Technology Park, who each gave an overview of their roles in science policy and advice to government in their respective countries.

That’s all folks. See you in Cairo, 2011.

Christina Scott from SciDev.net, South Africa, and Chris Smith from the Naked Scientists gave their closing address with a tongue in cheek retrospective video of some of the conference’s choice moments and interviews, whilst the community showed its gratitude to the key organizers by presenting flowers to Julie Clayton, UK science journalist, Sallie Robins, UK science publicist, Sarah Willan from Benchmark Communications, UK and Fiona Fox from the Science Media Centre, UK.

Science journalists and creationism: get to the facts

Reporting on creationism was one of the hottest debates during the WCSJ in London. Science journalists from all around the world listened to the views of James Randerson, environment website editor at the Guardian newspaper and Michael Reiss, academic of science education and a priest in the Church of England. 

The main question of the session “Balance not needed? Science journalism and the reporting of creationism” was if it was true that science journalists give more space or weight to the scientific view when reporting about creationism.