«Know thyself, science writer»: in a time of crisis that is bringing deep changes in the media landscape and according to many is putting science journalism “under threat”, the association “Science Writers in Italy” just launched an online survey asking science journalists from all over the world – and especially from Europe – to dedicate a few minutes of their busy time to help sketch the profession as they live it.
The ambitious project was preceded and inspired by the unexpected success of a similar study aimed at science journalists and writers from Italy: it was maybe with the ancient “Gnothi seautòn” in mind that 318 of them responded to the invitation and completed the online survey asking a few questions about the current state of the profession, from the role of the Italian Order of journalists (whose regional branch from Lombardy supported the project) to the delicate chapters of sources and specialisation.
The informal survey was designed to start collecting information about a profession lacking clear borders: in Italy, in particular, only registered members of the National professional Order can legitimately call themselves journalists. For varied reasons, some writers can’t, even when they do it for a living: there are for instance professionals working for national TV or radio science news programs who are not allowed in the professional orders, while on the other side there are many press officers and lobbyists who proudly hold a card showing that they belong to the Order of journalists. The analysis of the first 250 answers was published on the magazine of the Order of Professional Journalists of Lombardy, “Tabloid”, in an article available online by SWIM President Fabio Turone, who designed the online survey.
Now science journalsts, writers and communicators from all over the world are warmly invited to dedicate
10-15 minutes 5-10 minutes to contribute to enlarge and better define the picture through the new online survey.