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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

NEWS: Science journalism in crisis?

There was much discussion of the state of science journalism at this year's AAAS meeting.

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in February this year, journalists gathered at an informal session to discuss the current and upcoming challenges for specialist science reporters, particularly in light of CNN's decision to axe their entire science, technology and environment news staff.

Organized by the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), the view of the panel was that some of the bad news in developed world journalism was being offset by good news elsewhere.

WFSJ Board Member Nadia El-Awady spoke of the healthy state of journalism in Africa and the Arab countries, contrasting bad news in the US reported by Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism Review, and the state of play elsewhere.

But as Pallab Ghosh, Science Correspondent for BBC News and the current President of the WFSJ, pointed out, science journalists are needed now more than ever. Ghosh gave a presentation on how the media's representations of climate change and the associated politics are affecting debate in this area, highlighting the important role real science journalists have to play.

A full report on the event is available at The Columbia Journalism Review.

Sunny Bains