ENJOI 4th Engagement Workshop, Portugal

September 2, 2022
Esther Marín

The fourth and last ENJOI Engagement Workshop was held in Lisbon, Portugal, in May 2022. Co-creating the standards, principles and indicators in science communication and journalism

 

The main objective of the ENJOI Engagement Workshops (EWs) was to engage people from various backgrounds in the joint creation of Standards, Principles and Indicators (the so-called SPIs) for good scientific communication and journalism. Through collaborative discussions and co-creation activities, the EWs are contributing to developing guidelines to assist content producers’ daily work. Overall, more than 50 professionals from different fields participated in the EWs and actively contributed to the list of SPIs development.

Following the participatory approach of the Engagement Workshops in Italy, Belgium, and Spain, the ENJOI EW in Portugal gathered diverse professionals to discuss good practices in science communication and journalism.

The EW in Portugal was organised by FC.ID, partner of ENJOI at the Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (Ciências/ULisboa), and it closes the series of workshops started in Italy in March 2022. The methodology at the core of the ENJOI EWs has been constantly adapted and improved after each round of workshops.

The ENJOI EW in Portugal: have a look

Surrounded by trees, in a former greenhouse full of natural light located at the National Museum of Natural History and Science (MUHNAC) in Lisbon, the Portuguese EW took place on May 25, 2022. Participants concretely contributed to creating a relaxing and constructive atmosphere. They also demonstrated a great willingness to share their competencies, reflections, and practices in science communication and journalism.

Going back to in-person meetings, even though Covid-19 was still very present in our lives, turned out to be quite challenging. However, the opportunity to participate in a discussion forum involving several professional profiles was greatly appreciated by the participants, who enjoyed breaking out of their routines and having the time and space to meet professionals from very different backgrounds. The EW dynamics allowed to create a productive experience for mutual learning, information exchange and networking, as well as an opportunity to reflect with others upon their practices.

The ENJOI EW in Portugal: participants

A hallmark of ENJOI is the engagement of multiple stakeholders in the co-creation processes. Given the characteristics of the current media environment – where the distinction between content producers and audiences is blurred – it is important that all actors who play a role in the media ecosystem are involved in the discussion.

As in the previous EWs, in Portugal we sought to ensure a variety of voices by inviting professionals with different experiences, profiles, and backgrounds.

Journalists working in social or environmental issues, fact-checking, and visual storytelling, media editors, researchers and lecturers in journalism, museum curators, institutional communicators, medical doctors, postgraduate students, and content producers in social media accepted to participate in the exercise of co-creating SPIs.

All of them, 13 in total, were fully engaged in the dynamics designed and shared their experiences, opinions, needs, and challenges in a very constructive way.

Portuguese EW Module 1 and 2: Co-creating Principles and Identifying Standards

The first part of the session was devoted to the co-creation of Principles and Standards, which were worked together to facilitate their understanding. Working in small groups of professionals with varying backgrounds, the participants started brainstorming about principles and the associated standards. This first step was followed by clustering and prioritising the most relevant principles, which were discussed collectively.

Here below are the resulting co-created Principles and Standards:

Principles Standards
Rigour Verification of sources; use of reliable sources; no extrapolation; ensure diversity of sources; peer-review (e.g., by other journalists)
Relevance Adequate the topic to the format and to the media; relation to day-to-day stories (connection with society/stories that matter)
Accessibility Use of plain language; analogies; inclusive formats and usability; adequation to the target audience
Independence Use and citation of several sources; use of primary sources; to adapt/adjust the content to the context/needs (rhythm); identification of conflict of interests; identification of financing sources and sponsored content
Factuality Validation and clarification of data; sources for each fact mentioned; peer-review (experts in the field and/or other colleagues)
Trust Officiality of the sources, clarification; clear presentation of the information (e.g., use of infographics, and clear language)
Transparency Open methods, reproducibility and availability of data (open standards, open sources); ethics; identification of sources
No polarization of debates Inclusion of diversity (cultural, socio-economic, racial, ethnicity, etc.); collaboration and cooperation (vs competition); definition of the target audience and adaptation of the message
Scientific rigour Critical thinking; impartiality; science presented as a process (not only results, not immutable truths)

Portuguese EW Module 3: Defining Indicators and Co-creation of innovative tools

Generally speaking, quantitative and qualitative indicators are useful tools for assessing performance. Here, as well, indicators can be helpful to evaluate to what extent principles and standards are applied when analysing a journalistic piece.

Following a similar approach, indicators were also brainstormed (in this case, through several rounds of interactions) and clustered.

After a collective discussion, here is the final list of indicators per each of the identified principles:

Principles Indicators
(Scientific) Rigour ●       Does the article/piece include diverse sources (also with diverse cultural, socio-economic status, etc.)?

●       How many sources does the article/piece cite?

●       Does the article/piece include recognised (by the community) and reliable sources?

●       Is the scientific article subjected to peer-review?

●       Has the article/piece been reviewed by experts in the field and/or other colleagues (e.g., other journalists)?

●       Is the article/piece based on facts and/or data?

●       Rigorous use of adjectives (only when necessary)

Relevance ●       Is the article/piece of interest for the public? (public interest)

●       Does the article/piece include (statistical) data?

●       Does the article/piece cover a topic of national and/or international interest? Is it subject of debate/scrutiny?

●       Has the article/piece promoted social or political changes (nationally or internationally)? (e.g., legislation or new lines of funding)

●       Has the article/piece promoted social or political debate?

●       Metrics (for evaluation), e.g., indicators of engagement

Accessibility ●       Is the article/piece comprehensible?

●       Does the article/piece incorporate/use formats that allow an inclusive communication (e.g., sign language)?

●       Is the article/piece adequate to its target audience?

●       Is the language used adequate?

●       Usability (web accessibility)

Independence ●       Does the article/piece include diverse sources (minimum of two)? Diversity and number of sources: at least two sources, one should be a primary source (minimum) and one should be a specialised and independent source (minimum)

●       Does the article/piece identify any conflict of interests?

●       Does the article/piece identify any financing source?

●       Is the article/piece sponsored? - identification of sponsored content (content shouldn’t be sponsored)

●       Periodical meetings to monitor and assess the work conducted

Factuality ●       Does the article/piece include and/or cite sources for each fact mentioned?

●       Is the article/piece based on facts?

●       Has the article/piece been reviewed by experts in the field and/or other colleagues (e.g., other journalists)?

Trust ●       Are the sources official?

●       Are the sources identified in the article/piece?

●       (If any) Is funding clearly identified in the article/piece? (transparency about / independency of financial sources)

●       Does the article/piece or media assess their performance through direct interaction with the audience (e.g., survey, focal groups)?

Transparency ●       Does the article/piece (and/or media) identify any conflict of interests?

●       Does the article/piece include sources?

●       How many sources are cited?

●       Does the article/piece follow the code of ethics?

●       Are the sources included in the reporting reliable?

●       Does the article/piece include, cite and/or use/share open source or open data?

●       Does the media make public their funding/financial information (availability of financial report)?

●       Avoid use of jargon - accessibility of the information provided

No polarization of debates ●       Does the article/piece include diverse sources?

●       Does the team incorporate diverse backgrounds (gender, geographies, ethnicity, etc.)?

●       Does the article/piece or media assess their performance through direct interaction with the audience (e.g., survey, focal groups)? For instance, to ensure accessibility of the content

Putting SPIs in practice

Last but not least, participants were asked to co-design innovative tools and products to put the co-created SPIs into practice. Following a design thinking approach, the groups developed prototypes that will serve as inspiration for the innovative and practical tools, services and products to be produced, tested and evaluated within ENJOI.

Three prototypes resulted from the third co-creation session:

  • An online game where players decide how science information is produced by taking the role of science communicators or journalists. Based on a strategy of “learning by doing”, players put into practice the SPIs through a series of challenges and goals to be achieved.
  • A digital platform addressed to journalists to automatise the access to scientific articles and that incorporates the explanation of each of the components of a scientific paper (e.g., journal name, quartile, impact factor, name of the authors, affiliation, funding, etc.)
  • A series of in-person debates around the country, organised in several settings (e.g., schools, universities, local councils, newsrooms, etc.) and that involve multiple stakeholders (journalists, researchers, and general public) to discuss and disseminate examples of good practices.

Portuguese EW take-home message

It is important for the participants to create spaces where professionals (in particular, journalists and researchers) can share questions and issues related to their practices. Establishing open and constructive discussions can help set a common ground for understanding their ‘ways of doing’ and then promote mutual understanding that benefits both communication and science practices.

Inclusion of diversity when reporting about science was also acknowledged as an important lesson learned. To actively look for diverse profiles of the sources (i.e., gender, career stage, field of expertise, socio-economic status, ethnicity, nationality, etc.) is essential to ensure the representation of society in science stories. Thus, including less represented voices as well as professionals with diversified backgrounds in the newsrooms can promote more inclusive journalism and science communication.

Finally, the promotion and economic support of the so-called ‘slow journalism’ would benefit both content producers and their audiences. To produce articles that are accurate and supported by facts, that incorporate multiple (and diversified) sources, that are rigorous, and that respond to people’s needs for information in a way that is accessible to them require time and resources. Two constraints that have a significant impact on the sustainability and quality of the media.

We would like to thank all participants for their contributions!

 

Workshop developed by Esther Marín González, Cristina Luís, Inês Navalhas

Pictures by Cristina Luís

 

 

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