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Wednesday, November 2nd - 10:00 AM To 11:00 AM
Despite the opportunity thrown open by COVID-19, the science media scene remains fragmented across the world, especially in resource-poor newsrooms in developing countries. Forming an association of science journalists in times when the profession is facing an existential paradox — of both being a journalistic genre under the spotlight and yet not getting its due in media houses — is challenging. This session will have discussants from new science journalist associations in the global south — India, Nepal, and Brazil— engage on the issues they faced in bringing science journalists together in their countries, and in making a case for science journalism in a demanding mediascape.
Though science journalist associations are nothing new, the socio-political realities of many countries have changed in the past decade leading to tectonic shifts in how the media operates. This has meant a shrinking space for public debate to which science journalism adds value. At the same time, a global pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of misinformation leaving a small number of science and health journalists trying hard to counter it.
Against this backdrop, forming new science journalist associations is fraught with many challenges, the least of them being getting a quorum. Yet, it is essential because associations can help journalists
in resource-poor settings overcome gaps in their training and provide them support when speaking truth to power. The session will bring to light the challenges and way forward for such associations — and how others wanting to go down this path might benefit from their lived experiences.
The proposed panel will address questions such as: What purpose do science journalist associations fulfill in the new normal? What are the challenges for new associations: overcoming legal hurdles, getting people with differing views together, and setting up a responsible core committee. How to get the ball rolling once formed — finding funding, setting up an online presence, getting members and prioritizing activities. How to create an impact? How to be the voice of the profession, to facilitate speaking truth to power, collaborate with scientific bodies, and with other science journalist associations to corral information beyond geographical boundaries.