Senior editors from over a dozen countries came together at the World News Media Congress in Glasgow to discuss best practices in science and health journalism.
The Editors’ Roundtable about science in the newsroom was held at WAN-IFRA’s World News Media Congress in Glasgow 1 June, with QUEST team member Rebecca Wells, Teaching Fellow at City, University of London, participating in the workshop.
The roundtable reviewed recommendations from previous two workshops, held in London and Singapore, where science journalists and reporters who cover science identified problems that science journalism faces in the misinformation era.
At the end of the Glasgow session, the meeting approved the following recommendations:
- Newsrooms should consider the introduction of senior science reporters and scientists as guest editors in newsrooms
- Giving science greater priority in newsroom workflow and editorial meetings, rather than – as typically happens – putting it last or leaving it off the agenda altogether
- Mainstreaming science in editorial output rather than – or as well as – placing it in specialist verticals or pull-outs
- Creating specialist science positions in newsrooms or, where resources do not allow, ensuring science is covered in the same way as politics, business or sport by assigning science to a beat reporter
- Creating databases of scientific experts, to serve as a resource for newsrooms that aren’t big enough or can’t afford a specialist science desk and in order to create better diversity in contributors
- Develop better analytics to measure the impact and reach of science stories and their potential to help drive revenue
- Create an in-house verification process for science stories
- Provide training for scientists, and journalists who need to cover science, to improve the quality and accuracy of coverage
- To encourage press officers to supply photos and video, and scientists and reporters to capture original images, rather than rely on overused and boring stock images, and to explore the creation of a collaborative database of copyright-free science images
- To hold future roundtable events with scientists, journalists and press officers in order to find ways of improving newsroom processes and the quality of coverage.