World Association of News Publishers

Science in the Newsroom in 2019

Science in the Newsroom in 2019


  • For non-members: Free EUR
  • For WAN-IFRA members: Free


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The foreword, by Vincent Peyrègne, Chief Executive Officer, WAN-IFRA:

The scale and depth of disinformation circulating in our societies is a deep concern, not just for the news industry, but for all those who believe that to function effectively, people need accurate, verified information.

Being able to trust news is critical.

That is why the World Editors Forum, the network for editors within the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), is focused on addressing information disorder by strengthening professional journalism.

Our focus extends beyond political disinformation to the specialist subjects which impact the lives of those in our societies. It stretches to the type of information which informs how we choose to live our lives. In standard newsroom terms, this is what is reported around science, health and consumer affairs.

That is why we have initiated a Science in the Newsroom project to identify points of pain faced by newsrooms in covering these issues accurately, and to come up with solutions that will help strengthen the quality of reporting. An initial workshop has provided information for a multidimensional initiative to improve newsroom output. Our intention now is to deliver a programme that will have a meaningful result on newsrooms, and ultimately, the information we share. I trust you will support it.

Introduction & Executive Summary

Emerging technologies, trust in the industry and bad actors spreading both mis- and disinformation are challenges that all journalists will face in 2019. Specialist reporters in the fields of science and consumer affairs have to contend with the broad issues facing all of their peers, but also very specific off-shoots that impact directly on their ability to work to the highest of standards.

Niche reporters face an overwhelming volume of scientific data and papers but also unsubstantiated opinion and an ever-growing battalion of "influencers".

In facing the same challenges as their peers, niche reporters have a lot that can be learned from both colleagues and the wider journalism community. These might be new storytelling techniques, new ways to visualise data or publishing methods that stop misinformation campaigns in their tracks. Journalists are used to developing sources, but niche reporters in the field of science and areas such as consumer affairs must develop trusting relationships with entire institutions or scientific communities – all within a sector that has a need to publicise its work but little knowledge of the process that must be carried out to do so.

Co-design workshop

In order to address some of these challenges, WAN-IFRA developed a workshop focused on defining potential training opportunities for science journalists as well as practical tips and tools that can aid non-science journalists in this space or aid niche reporters on relevant projects.

By bringing journalists together with different experiences and using co-design methodology, we were able to fully map out existing processes in the reporting of science and consumer affairs stories. This then allowed us to identify both the challenges and opportunities for improvement in these fields.

By publishing this design process, it is hoped that others might benefit from the expert discussions and perhaps build on their own initiatives to make significant developments, improvements and progress in this space.

The workshop – held in association with the UK Science Journalism Conference – was attended by a variety of journalists, including specialist science journalists working in a newsroom environment, science journalists working for specialist publications, journalists covering consumer affairs and general newsroom journalists who take on science/consumer stories.

The workshop was facilitated by Fergus Bell, a consultant for Dig Deeper Media.

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Fergus Bell



WAN-IFRA's picture



2018-12-13 13:42

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