The Commission wants to strengthen the culture of science communication in Europe in order to avoid misperceptions that could lead to public opposition to scientific advances and thus lost innovation opportunities.
The first European Forum on Science Journalism gathered, on 3-4 December 2007, leading science journalists, editors of national newspapers and science publications as well as communications professionals and scientists to discuss the challenges in science reporting.
The challenges addressed in the different forum sessions included ways to strengthen science coverage in the European press and convince editors to run science stories. It also assessed the trustworthiness of scientific research and how to explaining research in an understandable way, as well as ways to stimulate public interest in science news.
A survey on researchers’ views on European research in the media, published at the forum, reveals that many scientists complain that they lack the tools, the incentives and the time to communicate their work to a wider audience. They consider that “if communication were given a more prominent role at institutional level, they would certainly enjoy a more fluent and fruitful interaction with the media.”
An equivalent survey on media professionals’ views revealed that a quarter of respondents encounter difficulties in writing attractive media stories on “topics that become more and more complex”. Media professionals also cite information overload (20%), lack of space in media for science (11%), and lack of time to verify data (10%) as the main challenges.