A european conference
2020 will go down in the annals as the year of the Corona pandemic – and thus also the year in which it became abundantly clear just how important science journalism is in ensuring that the worldwide public is provided with reliable information. At the same time, the pandemic is exacerbating what was already a precarious economic situation for many media companies. The question as to how we can continue to ensure access to high-quality science journalism for a broadly-based public eager for guidance is still unanswered.
Against this backdrop, the European conference ‘Science Journalism in the Digital Age’ (SciCon) wants to focus attention on the future of science journalism:
- What self-image can guide quality science journalism in the digital age?
- What approaches and partnerships, what business models can lead science journalism into the future?
- How can states, foundations and private sector players shape this process of transformation?
The SciCon Summary documents 16 online lectures by international media experts. The lectures were held in 2020/21 during the online conference “SciCon – Science journalism in the Digital Age”, organized by acatech and the German Science Journalists’ Association (WPK). The motivation for launching the SciCon Lecture Series was to explore and discuss how science communication is responding to structural change in the media system, the strategies that are being employed and how they might affect the role of science journalism in the future. Our aim was to gather knowledge, experience and examples of best practice from experts and practitioners around the world in order to formulate recommendations for future science journalism policy in Germany. We asked ourselves what we knew about sustainable, effective science communication in the digital age: What would be the role of editorial media? What strategic agenda for science communication could be meaningful in view of the digital transformation? And how could science best help to retain forums for evidence-based public debate?
This volume documents the entire series of talks that has created a reservoir of the analyses, experience, ideas and recommendations from researchers, journalists, entrepreneurs and media experts in Australia, Canada and the United States as well as numerous countries in Europe. All lectures are also documented as video recordings and can be found on YouTube.
The SciCon programme comprised two strands: between October 2020 and April 2021, online lectures were held. International media experts discussed possible options for the future of quality journalism. All lectures were streamed live, recorded, transcribed and have been made available on the SciCon website. We have thus created a knowledge reservoir addressing the main challenges science journalism will have to face in the future.
A SciCon working conference took place on 12 May 2021. In the course of this conference, we discussed what should be done in practical terms to create robust structures for tomorrow’s science journalism in Germany together with journalists, representatives of media companies, foundations, policy makers and scientists.