#UKCSJ Plenary: Is science journalism special?

This Storify details the conversation that took place during the final plenary talk at the 2nd UK Conference of Science Journalists - 25th June 2012

  1. Plenary:  ‘Is science journalism special?

    Speakers: Evan Davis, Today Programme, BBC Radio 4. Connie St Louis, President of the ABSW and Director MA Science Journalism. William Cullerne Bown, Chairman and Founder of Research Fortnight and Research Europe. Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism at New York University. 

    Chair and Producer: Alok Jha, Science Correspondent, the Guardian

    Is science journalism special? Should the reporting of science, health, technology or the environment set itself apart from the rest of journalism and be allowed to bend or break the standard rules? 

    Some think yes. Scientists should be allowed to check journalists’ articles before publication, some argue, because science is self-correcting and, therefore, categorically different to other subjects that journalists might cover. Others suggest that the discussion and analysis of science should be left to scientists themselves, with journalists merely playing a supporting role in helping to edit their text. Many disagree. Copy-checking, which is rare in most other fields of journalism, is evidence that science journalists and scientists have become too close. Journalists have become cheerleaders for science rather than applying the appropriate standards of scrutiny. Perhaps it comes down the the question of who are science journalists meant to serve? Science (and scientists) or their readers?

    These issues and many more (including whether unpublished research be reported or whether embargoes help or hinder accurate science reporting) will be discussed by an expert panel of journalists (science specialists and otherwise) and people framing the future of how journalism is changing. Be prepared to have your views, and your working practices as a science journalist, questioned.
  2. First up is William Cullerne Brown, Chairman and Founder of Research Fortnight and Research Europe.
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