From the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, from farmers’ protests across Europe to population ageing, generalist journalists increasingly have to deal with scientific issues. They have to communicate uncertainty and counter fake news in the face of ever-tighter deadlines. To help them develop the necessary skills and to equip them with suitable tools for these challenges, COALESCE organised a workshop on “Managing scientific information in times of crisis”, which took place in Trieste, Italy, on 26 January.
In the first part of the workshop, Elisabetta Tola (science journalist and founder of formicablu) addressed some of the critical aspects of communication in times of crisis, such as the difference between an “emergency” and a “crisis”, the dos and don’ts of risk communication, and the role of journalists and media during such occasions. The second part was dedicated to the participants’ perspectives, and they were asked to share their own experiences, particularly concerning local news. In this part, through participatory activities coordinated by Paola Rodari and Laura Busato (science communicators at SISSA Medialab), journalists had the chance to reflect on how emergencies and crises affect their profession, both in terms of news production and in their relationship with readers.
The workshop helped to identify several common issues and needs shared among generalist journalists with diverse backgrounds. These will prove crucial for the development of the European Competence Centre for Science Communication, as well as the associated Science Communication Academy, as we prepare the necessary training and resources for generalist journalists.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.