Final Report on the 3rd Kavli Symposium on Science Journalism

The 3rd Kavli Symposium on Science Journalism (Washington, DC – February 15-17, 2016) had the ambitious goal of addressing ways to facilitate coverage of science through international collaboration.

The 55 participants from 10 countries were particularly interested in opportunities that collaboration can offer to alleviate challenges in accessing, appraising and tracking stories on some of the most pressing issues that face the world.

The symposium presented four case studies of sensitive science topics:

  1. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – International Collaboration
  2. Clinical Trials – Appraising information
  3. Ebola and Zika – International Story Tracking
  4. Nuclear News Coverage – Accessing information

The discussions aimed at exposing the level of complexity specific to each theme, as well as introducing new ideas, tools, strategies and collaborative models to empower science journalists.

The symposium’s final report explores the discussion that arose around the case studies and can be viewed and downloaded here.

Please send us your notes, comments and thoughts on the final report and outcomes to – info@wfsj.org – so that we can start a dialogue between the WFSJ and the science journalism community.


SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT

1) Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – International Collaboration

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and gene editing (CRISPR) are highly charged subjects and complex global issues that require simultaneous international and local coverage. How do science journalists best cover it?

2) Clinical Trials – Appraising information

Various barriers to gaining clinical trial data exist. Regulatory data should be public good needed to reassure people that drugs are safe. Full transparency is an essential right.

How can science journalists get and appraise hidden data to provide real context for scientific studies?

3) Ebola and Zika – International Story Tracking

Informal-source surveillance and on the ground reporting were presented as key examples of tools that could be built on to improve journalism on infectious diseases. Would the world have reacted faster if the human stories on Ebola had been told earlier?

How to better track stories that are emerging globally. How to improve infectious disease coverage?

4) Nuclear News Coverage – Accessing information

How to access reliable scientific information of a highly charged nature, such as covering nuclear stories? Could focusing on surveillance and information security be a solution? And what about setting-up partnerships via collaborative networks on surveillance, access and discovery?