The recent event in Lausanne was a unique opportunity for QUEST to reach out to the global science journalism community.
Whoever has ever tried to climb a mountain is aware of how much training, skills, sacrifice, groundwork and competence are required for such an endeavour. The reward waiting on the top is a beautiful view and a beautiful feeling of fulfilment and self-realization. “Reaching new heights in science journalism” was the motto chosen for the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ), which took place in Lausanne at the beginning of July. The mountain image is not only an apt metaphor for the modern challenges of science journalism but also fits well with the conference location in the core of the Alps, which unites Switzerland, Italy and France: the three countries whose science journalism associations organised this edition of the conference.
Generally aiming to strengthen the professional, ethical and technical skills of science journalists, the conference’s programme included 63 sessions, nine luncheons, five press conferences, seven workshops and an exhibition space hosting 38 exhibitors showcasing advances in science and media technologies, including QUEST’s booth.
After a few months from the beginning of the QUEST project, the WCSJ represented a remarkable opportunity to establish connections with some of the most important actors in the science communication field, who gathered in Lausanne to discuss challenges and opportunities faced by science journalists nowadays. Furthermore, thanks to its dedicated space in the exhibitors’ area, QUEST had the possibility to show and test some of the new tools developed by the project with science journalists and science communicators. (Read more about our game for science journalists here.)
“The WCSJ2019 was a unique opportunity to present the QUEST project to hundreds of science journalists from all continents, to collect their inputs on how to pursue our goals, and to link our projects with a number of excellent international research institutions that, like us, are striving for quality communication,“ says Alessandra Fornetti, QUEST project’s coordinator. “Particularly remarkable for QUEST, as a project investigating science communication as a sort of ecosystem, was to see how science journalism fits in the wider sphere of science communication”.
The importance of science journalism as independent and objective reporting of science was underlined also by Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, during the Grand Opening of the conference: “As a journalist, it is crucial to always tell the story. We stopped telling the story that Europe is great. That Europe was great when science was great. That science is linked to society. Your mission is to tell the story to connect with people.”
With its 1137 registered delegates from 83 countries and 120 additional day passes issued, “WCSJ2019 was a tremendous success” according to Olivier Dessibourg, President of the Organizing Committee of WCSJ.
A success to be replicated in 2021 in Medellin, Colombia, for the next World Conference of Science Journalist. Save the date!
Image source: @wcsj2019eu