14 winners of the WCSJ2019 Media Competition announced, to go to WCSJ2022 in Medellin

 The organisers of the 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists, WCSJ2019 have announced the fourteen winners of a competition to find the best scientific journalism stemming from the conference. Ten winners each receive a Bertarelli Foundation Media Grant to attend the next WCSJ in Medellin, Colombia, in 2022. Four additional winners, coming from French-speaking countries, receive a similar grant in the framework of the WCSJ2019 efforts to support science journalism in the “Francophonie”. 

WCSJ2019 was held in Lausanne from 1-5 July 2019 and organised by the science journalists’ associations of Switzerland, ASJS, France, AJSPI, and Italy, SWIM, with the support of the World Federation of Science Journalists, WFSJ. The conference attracted over 1300 science journalists, writers and communicators from 83 countries. To build on this success, and to secure continuity through to the next WCSJ in Medellin, one of WCSJ2019’s main supporters, the Bertarelli Foundation, generously agreed to fund the Media Competition, which was proposed by the WCSJ2019 organisers. 

The competition was open to all WCSJ2019 participants whose main area of activity is science journalism. Entrants were asked to send in up to two articles or media contributions they had produced based on a topic or an idea originating at the conference whether from a conference session, a field trip, a lunch@lab gathering, an exhibit, or indeed anything inspired by WCSJ2019. By the deadline of 31 December 2019, the organisers had received 51 entries, from 31 participants. Entries were evaluated by a jury according to predetermined criteria to assess aspects including, amongst others, their originality, style, journalistic method, quality and format. The jury was composed of Hélène Le Meur (science journalist, Programme committee member responsible for Keynote speakers), James Gillies (science communicator at CERN and 

co-head of the WCSJ2019 Communication team), Christine d’Anna-Huber (Secretary General of the Swiss Association of Science Journalism, Executive director of the WCSJ2019 Organising committee) and Olivier Dessibourg (President 2012-2019 of the Swiss Association of Science Journalism and Chairman of the Board of the WCSJ2019 Organising committee). 

Five prizes consisting a full grant to attend WCSJ2022, covering travel, hotel nights, conference fee, and a per diem, were originally foreseen. Thanks to a positive balance at the end of the WCSJ2019, the organisers are now happy to announce that there will 10 winners of this Bertarelli Foundation Media Grant. 

Their name (in alphabetical order) and their contributions are: • DE VRIEZE Jop, “Reflections of a science journalist: is an overview study just an opinion?” 

• IRWIN Aisling, “The Everything Mapper” 

• LACHOWSKI Caroline, “Comment développer le journalisme scientifique en Afrique?” 

• PALMER Jane, “The chemists policing Earth’s atmosphere for rogue pollution” 

• PONCHNER Debbie, “Trans Ovaries and the Privilege of Growing Old” 

• POWELL Kendall, “What electronic games can teach us” 

• POZNIAK Helena, “Refugees and technology: on a journey of self-discovery” 

• ROMAN Valeria, “Transgender in Latin America: Unfolded from Otherness” 

• SHETTY Disha, “65% Indians Exposed To Heatwaves” 

• SIMON Laurent, “On a passé la semaine dans un endroit formidable” 

Since one of the strands of WCSJ2019 was to promote quality science journalism in the French-speaking world – la Francophonie (document in French) – a further four grants are being made to French-speaking journalists. Their names and contributions are, in alphabetical order: 

The WCSJ2019 Organising committee and the Bertarelli Foundation warmly congratulate the winners of this competition and thank all the participants for their submissions. 

The WCSJ2019, which brought science journalists, acclaimed scientists, along with high-level decision-makers, politicians and policy makers to Lausanne, attracted worldwide media coverage. Many of the sessions were recorded on video and are freely available. The Organising Committee produced a full Final report, published in January 2020, describing the event. 

The science that makes a difference in all our lives. Report from the Kavli Prize Week 2018

WFSJ’s vice-president, Milica Momcilovic, represented the Federation at this year’s Kavli Prize Week 2018 in Olso, Norway (1-6 September). It is an immense honor for the WFSJ to be able to participate in this six-day event. We are also grateful to The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the event organizers, and the Kavli Foundation for their commitment and support to science journalism. Since 2012, 23 fellows – science journalists from all over the world – have had the unique opportunity to attend and report on the excellence in science from Norway.READ MORE

“I think that science journalism is so incredibly important” [Alan Alda]

The five fellows, science journalists from China, Colombia, Japan/Australia, Mexico, South Africa, are reporting on the 2018 Kavli Prize Week in Oslo, Norway (1-6 September) using their and our social media channels. This has already resulted in some fun exchanges with presenter, activist, and actor Alan Alda, as well as with laureates Jennifer Doudna (nanoscience), James Hudspeth (neuroscience), and Ewine van Dishoeck (astrophysics). On this page, we have collected some of those memorable encounters.READ MORE

Checking in on Fact Checking in Science Journalism

The Knight Science Journalism at MIT program took a close look at one of science journalism’s most underappreciated practices — and uncovered a few surprises.

“The State of Fact Checking in Science Journalism,” one of the first industry-wide looks at how science news publications go about ensuring the trustworthiness of their reporting. A key takeaway: Different outlets approach the task in vastly different ways.

“So, what is the state of fact-checking? The report seems to confirm at least one long-held suspicion: that support for fact-checking is waning. Only about a third of the publications in the study employ independent fact checkers. About 15% said they rely on copy editors for fact-checking. Others place the onus on journalists and editors, and about a third have no formal fact-checking procedures in place at all.”

Read an excerpt and download the full report here.


The study was funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, overseen by Knight Science Journalism Program director Deborah Blum, and spearheaded by Brooke Borel, a freelance journalist and editor.

Photo credit: The Climate Reality Project / Unsplash


Now out. The July issue of Sayansi with a special focus on HIV/AIDS in Kenya

Our Kenyan Member Association, the Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA), publishes SAYANSI, a regular science magazine focusing on science news in Kenya and the wider region. The July issue has a special focus on HIV/AIDS and includes articles on self-testing, halting the spread of the disease, vaccine development, as well as an interesting selection of other science news. Pick-up your copy of SAYANSI here

Committee to Protect Journalists: Journalist Safety at the US Border

Are you a journalist whose device was searched at the US border? Were you stopped for extra screening? The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned when authorities target journalists at borders with additional inspections, search their devices, and delay or deny their entry. 

The CPJ and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on behalf of the ACOS Alliance, have been working to understand the scope of the problems facing journalists entering and exiting the US border. We are also coordinating with a coalition of groups to address these issues and refer individual journalists to advisories and assistance where needed. READ MORE

White paper on artificial intelligence and human development. Ensuring its ethical and equitable use.

The IDRC / CRDI published a white paper on Artificial intelligence and human development. AI’s potential for enhancing development efforts is enormous, but we need to ensure its ethical and equitable use.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to enhance productivity and innovation around the world. The expected benefits promise to be transformative, but the negative repercussions could be magnified in developing countries, where the livelihoods of many people are precarious and social institutions can be fragile. READ MORE


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