The ten-part virtual lecture series “Science Journalism in the Digital Age II” (SciCon 2.0) aims to focus on topics that are relevant for the digital transformation of journalism and to address practical ideas that can be developed and implemented for Germany. The series is organized by the German Science Journalists’ Association (WPK) and the Science Media Center Germany (SMC).

Based on a thorough analysis of best practice examples and internationally identifiable solution-oriented approaches, the lecture series seeks to explore

  • the conditions under which state and civil society actors could play an active role in shaping media and promoting transformation in Germany (general conditions for promoting independent journalism),
  • the extent to which public broadcasting, which is a strong sector in Germany, has a special responsibility to ensure the quality of science journalism coverage and the preconditions for doing so (role of public media systems for sustainable science journalism),
  • the potential market-based or otherwise viable monetization options that are open to journalism in a digitally revolutionized and pluralized media environment (e.g., new business and payment models in journalism, role of community building for the creation of new media offerings, non-profit journalism concepts) and what role novel innovations can play in this.


The lecture series is scheduled to run until September 2023 and will culminate in an international conference in Berlin in November 2023, which will formulate recommendations based on both lecture series.

In this way, Scicon 2.0 is continuing a lecture series started in 2020, which aims to explore from an international perspective how quality journalism about science may look in the future.


Antje Sirleschtov, Nicola Kuhrt, Sebastian Esser: Towards New Shores: Table.Media & Blaupause
(17 May 2023, 16:00 CEST)

Moderation: Alexander Mäder


**Please note that this lecture is held in German**

Newsletters and briefings have become an important tool for decision-makers to gather information and form opinions – and they are shaking up journalism. In this session, we’ll take a look at two of the most exciting journalistic innovation projects: “Table.Media – For better informed decisions.” The digital publishing house in Berlin specializes in professional briefings: Federal Policy, China, EU Regulation, ESG, Climate, Security, Education, Research, Africa, 100Headlines. Table.Media aims to offer “deep journalism” and combine the quality standards of leading media with the in-depth focus of specialist information.

For this session, we invited Editor-in-Chief Antje Sirleschtov and Nicola Kuhrt as Editorial Director Research.Table to tell us about their editorial approach and start-up strategy: How did the team strategically develop the idea, where do they want to position themselves in the journalistic market? How important are marketing and community building for the project, which financing model did the team choose? And: What did they learn during the start-up phase?

We are also looking forward to meeting journalist and entrepreneur Sebastian Esser, with whom we want to shed light on the role that briefings & newsletters play for quality journalism in the digital age: How will the market for journalistic newsletters develop? What opportunities does the format offer for authors? Sebastian Esser will also present his newsletter Blaupause – a guide for journalists and creators who build communities and offer memberships.

As Editor-in-Chief, Antje Sirleschtov is responsible for all Table.Media Professional Briefings. In the past, she worked at Tagesspiegel as head of the capital city bureau, the business editorial department and finally as managing editor. Sirleschtov developed journalistic professional newsletters at Tagesspiegel and continues this work with Table.Media Professional Briefings.

Science journalist Nicola Kuhrt is editorial director of Research.Table. She worked for many years as a freelance journalist, including for Süddeutsche Zeitung, ZEIT, STERN and Brand eins. From 2012 to 2015, she was editor and deputy head of the “Knowledge” department at SPIEGEL ONLINE. She was “Science Journalist of the Year” and winner of the Peter Hans Hofschneider Award and the Best Cancer Reporter Award, among others. Four years ago, she founded the nonprofit magazine MedWatch, which features evidence-based reporting and debunks fake news. 

Sebastian Esser is co-founder of “Krautreporter” and the online payment platform Steady. He was editor-in-chief of the media magazine V.i.S.d.P. and politics editor at the German Vanity Fair. In 2012, he co-founded the crowdfunding platform Krautreporter, followed by the online magazine in 2014. In 2016, Esser launched Steady, a funding portal for independent media. In 2022, he launched his newsletter Blaupause, which aims to help founders make newsletters, websites and podcasts more successful.


From October 2020 to April 2021, the German Science Journalists’ Association (WPK) and acatech organized the online lecture series “Science journalism in the Digital Age I” (SciCon 1.0).

In 16 virtual lectures international media experts discussed possible options for the future of quality journalism – including Esther Alonso (elDiario), Deborah Blum (MIT Knight Science Journalism Program), Dame Frances Cairncross (UCLA), Julia Cagé (Sciences Po Paris), Jonathan Heawood (IMPRESS), Donatien Huet (Mediapart), Martin Jönsson (Dagens Nyheter), Amanda D. Lotz (Queensland University), Nadja Oertelt (Massive Science), Victor Pickard (Annenberg School for Communication), Aron Pilhofer (Temple University), Tom Rosenstiel (American Press Institute) & Anya Schiffrin (Columbia University).

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: 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?

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.

The SciCon Summary documents the entire series of talks with all analyses, experiences, ideas and recommendations from researchers, journalists, entrepreneurs and media experts in Australia, Canada and the United States as well as numerous countries in Europe.


Would you like to receive regular information about the conference? Register here.