Tag Archives: World Conference of Science Journalists

The early bird registration for Helsinki WCSJ2013 ends next Friday


(click on the image to go to the registration page)

The Early Bird registration for the WCSJ 2013 conference is still open – for a few days! Hurry up. Please spread the word!

You can, of course, still register for the conference in June, but it will cost you more.

The last day for the Early Bird registration is Friday, 24th of May.

Also please spread the word, you are welcome to join the conference even when you are not a working journalist. We are not closing non-journalists out. We need discussion between the journalists and the people they are working and communicating with.

This is because there has been false information about the non-journalists not being able to participate.

The program is being  finalized and printed. You find most of the program in the internet now.

Come and meet your colleagues from all over the world.

Helsinki WCSJ 2013

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Get ready for the Helsinki 2013 World Conference of Science Journalists!

We are pleased to circulate this announcement by the Finnish colleague Eeva Pitkälä, Conference Director  of the 8th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) that will take place in Helsinki from June 24 to 28, 2013.

Dear colleagues,

The first details of WCSJ2013 have now been revealed at a press conference in the AAAS Annual meeting.

The next important WCSJ 2013 dates are Call for session proposals, open on March 1, 2012, exhibition details available by June 2012 and the early registration, that begins September 10, 2012.

WCSJ 2013 takes place right after the Midsummer festivities and thus it is a unique time of the year in Helsinki when the summer nights are nearly as bright as the days. The venue of the conference is the central campus of the University of Helsinki.

In Helsinki, you will meet hundreds of members of WFSJ, aspiring future science journalists, top-level scientists and colleagues from different countries.

What will make WCSJ2013, Helsinki, a must-attend is its emphasis on creativity and networking. Times certainly are hard for science journalists in Finland and all over the world. Thus, the core of the conference is that our professional questions must be addressed in depth, says Ms. Lipponen, Chair of the Organising Committee and President of the Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists, FASEJ.

In WCSJ2013, having fun is a crucial part of the programme. Achieving good intellectual results by having fun is not far-fetched. According to the International Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA, Finland has an excellent reputation in education, – Learning from colleagues is the basic idea behind the Science Journalism COOPeration programmes, a unique effort to train science journalists in developing countries. That is also a good example for us in Helsinki 2013, points Mr. Vesa Niinikangas, the President of WFSJ and General secretary of FASEJ.

Having met many of you in London and Doha and witnessed the great effort and passion you all put into your work, I would love to see you in Helsinki in 2013

Eeva Pitkälä

Conference Director WCSJ 2013, Helsinki, 24 – 28, June 2013

8th World Conference of Science Journalists





Here you can download the pdf of the invitation leaflet.

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Risk and bioethics at WCSJ2011 in Doha (from a European perspective)

The following article, by Swim board member Daniela Ovadia, has just come out in the newsletter of EUSJA.

European science journalism was represented at WCSJ 2011 in Doha also by two panelists from Italy: Fabio Turone, who produced a panel on the communication of risk, and myself, in charge of a session on bioethics.

Moderated by Wilson Da Silva, editor in chief of Cosmos, the most widely read science popularisation magazine in Australia, the panel on risk offered three very diverse points of view on the issue.

Nigeria’s Akin Jimoh, who is the anglophone coordinator for the SjCOOP mentoring program of the World Federation of Science Journalists, discussed about the many difficulties a reporter has to overcome when trying to involve the population of African countries in the debate on risk, difficulties summarised in the picture of two motorbike riders wearing ludicrous – but not uncommon – substitutes for the helmets mandated by the law.

The lively and entertaining contribution by former TV reporter David Ropeik, book author and instructor at Harvard, focused on the elements that contribute to make objective hazards more or less scary, which should be known and used with caution by media professionals: from trust to familiarity, from choice to uncertainty through the dualism between risk and benefit, natural and man-made and between catastrophic and chronic, and more. His extensive research on the perception of risk was recently summarised in the book “How Risky Is It, Really?: Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts”.

Finally Fabio Turone analysed the available medical litterature on the quality of health and specifically risk reporting, to stress the importance of providing lifelong training for science journalists by journalists, specifically to practice and reinforce a critical approach. He presented the existing attempts at establishing a stronger and more effective alliance among scientific institutions, health policy makers and the media professionals in which the latter are considered “professional equals”.

From left: David Ropeik, Fabio Turone, Akin Jimoh and the moderator Wilson Da Silva.

Bioethics is more and more important in health reporting. It’s harder and harder for a science journalist to separate opinion from scientific evidence in topics such as end of life decisions or the  assessment of consciousness and coma. The panel in Doha was composed by journalists from the US – Joe Palca, science correspondent from NPR, and Jon Cohen, correspondent with Science who acted as moderator – the Canadian bioethicist Eric Racine, from Mc Gill University in Montréal, and myself. Racine illustrated his research on media reporting in cases that have a strong bioethical angle, especially with regards with neurology and neuroscience. He discussed the media coverage of the Terry Schiavo case in American and British newspapers through the analysis of the language used to describe her medical history, the most common mistakes in reporting and the misunderstanding of the experts’ comments.

Joe Palca discussed the hypes and hopes of stem cell research in neurological diseases and raised the question of how to report such an important issue. Finally I summarized two important cases involving end-of-life decisions that were debated in Italy for many years: the case of Piergiorgio Welby (an ASL patient who asked to withdraw assisted ventilation) and the case of Eluana Englaro (a coma patient with many similarietis with the Schiavo’s story). The speech benefited from the work by Gianna Milano, an Italian colleague who followed both cases for many years but could not attend the Doha conference.

From left: Daniela Ovadia, Eric Racine, Jon Cohen and Joe Palca.

The final discussion on the role of science journalism in ethical and scientific controversies sparked a debate about the difference between informing and teaching. The majority declared that the role of journalists is to inform and not to teach nor to judge the experts’ or the families’ position. An interesting part of the discussion involved colleagues from Islamic countries, where the bioethics debate is still in its infancy but is an emerging issue.

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The state of Science Journalism according to the WFSJ

The World Federation of Science Journalists has recently published in its website the report of the activities in the years 2009-2001 and several documents summarizing the very successful World Conference of Science Journalists held in Doha (Qatar) with an attendance of 800 delegates from 89 countries.

World Conference of Science Journalists in Doha Report is online

WFSJ 2009-2011 Report & minutes of the Doha General Assembly

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WCSJ 2011: Qualche immagine da Doha

Mentre il congresso mondiale dei giornalisti scientifici è ancora in corso a Doha, ecco alcune immagini del folto gruppo di giornalisti italiani (in grandissima parte “Swimmers”), con un saluto affettuoso alla collega e amica Gianna Milano che all’ultimo momento ha dovuto rinunciare a venire. (Grazie a Nicla Panciera per le foto)

Una parte della rappresentanza italiana. Da sinistra verso destra, in prima fila: Chiara Albicocco, Giovanni Spataro, Valentina Murelli e Amelia Beltramini

La discussione sulla bioetica, con Daniela Ovadia nel ruolo di producer e speaker (a sinistra nella foto), con il moderatore Jon Cohen e i due speaker Eric Racine e Joe Palca

La sessione sul rischio e i media, con David Ropeik (a sinistra), Fabio Turone (che ha prodotto la sessione), Akin Jimoh, e Wilson Da Silva nel ruolo di moderatore

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Lo Swim-team è in partenza per il congresso di Doha

La partecipazione italiana al congresso mondiale dei giornalisti scientifici che inizierà domenica 26 giugno sarà caratterizzata dalla presenza di numerosi iscritti della nostra associazione, in veste di panelist (Gianna Milano, Daniela Ovadia e Fabio Turone) e di delegati (oltre a Nicla Panciera che viene da Trento, dalla Lombardia verranno Mariachiara Albicocco, Amelia Beltramini, Valentina Murelli e Chiara Palmerini, che insieme al collega Alberto Giuffrè hanno beneficiato delle borse messe a bando dall’Ordine dei Giornalisti della Lombardia per i suoi iscritti).
Nella capitale dell’emirato del Qatar contiamo di incontrare centinaia di colleghi da tutto il mondo (e  magari anche altri colleghi italiani) e di discutere del presente e delle prospettive future dell’affascinante professione del giornalista scientifico, che sta attraversando numerose trasformazioni e deve saper cogliere le occasioni di rinnovamento profondo che la situazione di generale crisi del giornalismo porta con sé.

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Ancora pochi giorni per andare a Doha con le borse dell’Ordine

Mancano pochi giorni alla scadenza del bando per le borse da 800 euro che l’Ordine dei Giornalisti della Lombardia ha messo a disposizione degli iscritti che vogliono partecipare al Congresso mondiale dei giornalisti scientifici che si terrà a Doha, in Qatar, alla fine di giugno.

Il bando dell’Ordine dei Giornalisti è consultabile qui: la somma di 800 euro è sufficiente a coprire la quasi totalità dei costi (per la registrazione al congresso gli iscritti a Swim hanno diritto alla quota scontata), dal momento che gli organizzatori hanno un’ottima convenzione con un albergo cinque stelle (50 dollari, circa 40 euro, a notte per la singola: il doppio per la doppia) e con le Qatar Airlines (15-25% di sconto).
Per quanto riguarda il volo aereo, vi consigliamo comunque di fare una valutazione comparata dei costi, per esempio su skyscanner.it, perché si trovano biglietti andata e ritorno a meno di 500 euro.

Infine, se avete bisogno di ulteriori motivi per venire, ecco un po’ di suggerimenti turistici da Repubblica Viaggi (“Doha tra archistar e tradizione”).

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