The coronavirus has rarely been out of the news since it started spreading across Europe and around the world in early 2020. The final episode of our podcast discusses how the news media has covered the health crisis in a context where public concern is at an all-time high but little trustworthy information is available.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an extraordinary period for science journalists, and reporting the facts and establishing the truth about the unfolding health crisis has been one of the greatest journalistic challenges of modern times. The final episode of the QUEST podcast series looks at how journalists have covered the crisis amid limited scientific data and sometimes confusing information about the virus.
Read more about science journalism at Süddeutsche Zeitung from our blog post.
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In this episode
Marlene Weiß, Head of the Science Department, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
Marlene Weiß is the head of the Science Department at Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest daily newspapers. A theoretical physicist by training, she earned her PhD from the research centre CERN in Geneva and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. She joined Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2010 as a trainee journalist and later became a science editor, mostly covering physics, climate and the environment.
Kysia Hekster, EU and NATO correspondent, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), Netherlands
Kysia Hekster is a Brussels-based EU and NATO correspondent for the Dutch broadcaster NOS. It is the largest news organisation of the Netherlands and works within the framework of the Dutch public service broadcasting system. She has been part of NOS since 2004 and has recently covered topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Dutch royal family. Kysia has also worked in Moscow reporting on Russia and former CIS countries.
Freya Robb, Press Officer, Science Media Centre, UK
Freya Robb is a Press Officer at the UK Science Media Centre (SMC). She graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Natural Sciences, and joined SMC as an intern before being offered a permanent role in the Press Office. The SMC is an independent press office that helps to ensure the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines. The SMC works with scientists to help them communicate their research and expertise on the biggest stories of the day. Most of their recent work has been all about COVID-19. The SMC has run more than 160 press briefings and issued thousands of comments from experts on the big news stories or research of the day.
Podcast production team
Host: Barbara Schofield
Barbara worked as a reporter, producer and editor in BBC broadcast newsrooms and in features production for 15 years before moving into academic life at City, University of London. She was until recently Programme Director of Undergraduate Journalism at City, while also working on the Erasmus+ INSPIRE project to encourage inclusivity in higher education through training in media skills. She has been active on several other EU-funded partnership projects including MicroEuropa and the Global Environmental Journalism Training Initiative (GEJI). As Research Officer on the QUEST project she has devised an updated curriculum for MA Science Journalism programmes, and a Toolkit to encourage accurate and effective science journalism – available in May 2021.
Producer: Atina Dimitrova
Atina is a City, University of London alumna who did a degree in Journalism. She did her MA in International Relations at King’s College London. Atina is working as MailOnline’s UK social media assistant. She has work experience across a range of media outlets such as The Guardian, The Times and The Sunday Times Magazine. She has also worked as a hub assistant at the Election Broadcast Hub, BBC Elstree Centre during the 2018 Local Election programme and the 2017 General Election programme.