A sizeable shift – Exploring new boundaries for science journalists and science communicators

A sizeable shift – Exploring new boundaries for science journalists and science communicators

Author: Kathryn O’Hara – Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication, Canada. Canada

Manuel Lino – Freelance science journalist, Mexico
Daniela Oviedo – Centre for Ethics in Science Journalism , Italy
Michelle Riedlinger – University of the Fraser Valley, Canada
Brian Trench – PCST,Science Communications, Ireland

This group discussion will consider the prospects for science journalism and science communication as the science communication sector continues to grow and the job market for science journalism falters, addressing a central issue in the future of science journalism and the possible consequences for science communication Those attending will join a discussion with panelists who have, in different ways and in different regions, lived through the overlapping and partly shared histories of science journalism (SJ) and science communication (SC). SJ as an internationally recognized specialism surfaced from the 1970s onwards, Science Communication has grown world-wide since the 1990s, also becoming a distinct arena of professional practice. Personnel and ideas have migrated between the two fields and recent challenges to science journalism, notably from structural changes in media industries, have contributed further to this movement between the sectors; for example, science journalists have increasingly taken up roles in scientific, education and cultural institutions, including in SC training and education. At the same time, separate structures of representation and networking have evolved and boundary definitions between SC and SJ have sometimes been contentious. Do science journalists moving from media organizations to writing and other client-based communication roles in institutions remain journalists? Are the boundaries between SJ and SC being implicitly redrawn or do they need to be explicitly redefined? The guiding questions for this discussion, however, will be focused on the future: How are relations between SJ and SC likely to develop? What new paths can be explored so that the two fields enjoy a peaceful co-existence? What are the obstacles to them being good neighbours? What bearing will scientifc integrity have on their professional practices?

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Comparing science communication across cultures