Kavli Symposiums

The 4th Kavli Symposium on Science Journalism (Austin, Texas – 19–21 February 2018)

The event was produced by the WFSJ in partnership with the Kavli Foundation and took place right after the AAAS meeting. For this 4th edition, the symposium zoomed in on Technology & Truths and how to ethically harness the potential of open source data and avoid fake news. Several key questions were addressed during the meeting, such as:

  • Can new technology be used to generate science journalism?
  • What are the possible pitfalls and challenges ahead?

The programme was built around four sessions that tackled subjects such as:

  • Data journalism
  • Protecting data sources and personal data
  • Fact-checking and misinformation
  • Artificial Intelligence’s potential role in the production of science news.

The 3rd Kavli Symposium on Science Journalism (Washington, DC – 15–17 February 2016): Facilitating 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: food, nuclear, clinical trials, and infectious diseases. 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 from the case studies and can be viewed in (Issuu browser) here. The 3KS_2016_Final_Report can be downloaded in pdf.


The 2nd Kavli Symposium focused primarily on data mining and innovative data tools that could benefit the international community of science journalists worldwide. It took place from 16 to 18 February 2015 at the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose, California.

“It was inspiring to witness such a functional, positive, and international professional organization preparing its members for the future.” Vincent McCurley

“That kind of openness to serendipitous collaboration is the sign of a healthy and promising community that is genuinely committed to making good things happen, wherever the opportunities may come from.” Fernando Perez

“Healthy and promising community, genuinely committed, making good things happen.”


One of the recommendations that emerged from the 2nd Kavli Symposium on Science Journalism is that there is a strong need for science journalists worldwide to have powerful and cutting-edge data mining and mapping tools and new digital platforms to help them better execute their jobs.

The digital age and its numerous online tools have tremendously disrupted the classic media industry model and the old forms of publishing. Science journalists want to find out how they could further benefit from these continuous evolutions, with the goal to always better serve the public.

Data mining tools have traditionally been in the hands of computer software companies. Could they be turned into a Brave New World for science journalists? One of the key questions is how these tools can be applied to science journalists’ current and future needs so that they can look at stories with new angles and broader perspectives.

Top computer and network scientists and experts along with science journalists from various parts of the world explored existing cutting-edge data analytic tools and how they can be applied to science journalism. They discussed case studies stemming from current global issues in the field of public health, climate change, and investigative stories and how to find other experts worldwide.

This symposium defined a vision for the future of science journalism and how to enhance its quality through innovation and cooperation. It combined the international perspective and expertise of the participating journalists with those from multiple experts to help identify the promises, problems, and opportunities of data mining tools.

The topic and agenda for this symposium, which took place in the heart of Silicon Valley, the cradle of data mining, were developed by the advisory committee under the supervision of the World Federation of Science Journalists.


1st Kavli Symposium on Science Journalism (Oak Brook, Illinois – 17–19 February 2014): The Future of Science Journalism

In February 2014 the World Federation of Science Journalists and The Kavli Foundation organized their first Symposium on the Future of Science Journalism. An international group of 50 leading science journalists and experts from 16 countries assembled in Oak Brook, Illinois, to explore and discuss the future of science journalism. The goal of the symposium was to move forward a selection of issues important to this specific type of journalism. Three key themes were discussed:

  • Better defining science journalism
  • International collaboration between science journalists
  • Supporting science journalism

Different working groups came up with recommendations for the chosen themes.

To better define science journalism, recommendations were made to create a document detailing the skills and core values of science journalists. The document seeks to support a future generation of journalists in clearly defining their mission and to reflect the future prospects for the profession. In addition, the relationship between science media centres and science journalists was discussed, including how to help journalists sell science journalism through a proactive marketing campaign.

The group focusing on the international collaboration between science journalists recommended the creation of a pilot grant and fellowship programme to facilitate this kind of collaboration between science journalists. It also suggested the creation of three services to help organize the international relationship between science journalists, such as resource lists, a peer-to-peer network to facilitate mentoring, and local meetings that would help put people together and stimulate an international collaboration on a single topic. The creation of a training handbook for science journalists would help improve the skills of journalists in the reporting on international science stories. It should include guidelines on how to work with open data, how to fundraise for story production, and how to collaborate across borders.

The discussions on supporting science journalism led to recommendations to create a collaborative working document (white paper) on best practices in business models, the development of a field guide for science publishers and entrepreneurs, and the creation of online resources on business tools for publishing science journalism. With the help of computer scientists and other partners, data mining tools, such as an intelligent story finder and a tracking tool to detect rising stars in science, should be created, as well as a science journalist journey tracker. These tools will help journalists benefit more fully from innovative practices and existing business models.

Click here to download a PDF of the full report.
For the summary report, click here.