Etmaal Conference: an opportunity for discussion and engagement

February 25, 2023
Enjoi Team
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The ENJOI Partner Anne M. Dijkstra, University of Twente, presented the results of the ENJOI activities during the Conference session devoted to Science Communication and Journalism

After two years of pandemics, the 25th Etmaal Conference organized by the University of Twente in the Netherlands was held in person, on the 2nd and 3rd of February 2023. The proposed theme “Communication in Transforming Societies” could not be more appropriate, and more than 400 participants from Belgian and Dutch universities including international scholars from all over Europe, took part.

Our in situ ENJOI partner, Anne M. Dijkstra and Anouk de Jong, MSc, University of Twente, presented the results of ENJOI’s activities (i.e. the SPIs developed during the Labs and Engagement Workshops) during the session on Science Communication and Journalism.


The Conference


The Dutch word “Etmaal” means 24 hours. In fact, the conference lasted 24 hours, from 12 noon on the first day to 12 noon the next day.

In the evening the participants joined the conference dinner and the party and had the opportunity to interact and get to know each other informally. A rich variety of communication science topics were discussed during the workshop, with a particular focus on Science Communication and Journalism to which four entire sessions were devoted.

As for ENJOI, the results collected with a short survey, interviews and observations conducted before and after the ENJOI Engagement Workshops and Labs were presented. These results deepen our understanding of the respondents’ views on the quality and reliability of science journalism in Southern Europe and their opinion on co-creation and engagement as a means of exploring the quality of science journalism.


Dealing with SPIs

About half of the participants had no previous experience with Principles, Standards and Indicators (SPIs). Those who had  reported that dealing with them was useful and positively influenced their professional attitude, also strengthening their confidence in their own professional competence. Others reported that they had changed their views on the SPIs, while others reported no substantial difference.

In summary, the general feeling about the SPIs is that working with them is positive and improves clarity. However, the respondents signaled a need to simplify and explain their implementation through simple guidelines and examples.


Meeting expectations

The data collected during the surveys (the first one with 59 respondents and the second one with 31 respondents) and the interviews (12 out of 16 have already been conducted), gathered participants’ expectations and comments on the workshops, with a focus on the engagement process.

While their expectations before the conference were high, the results from the interviews show that these were also satisfied. Their main reasons for attending were professional growth, in terms of practical training and deepening their knowledge. In this respect, the opportunity to network and meet other people was valued as an advantage.

The in-depth discussions during the workshops were considered crucial to broaden perspectives and raise awareness on what is considered good quality science journalism and communication and how to achieve this. As one of the participants explained: “The workshop stimulated reflection. We were trying to come to a conclusion all together. I think it was more useful to work with other colleagues and have this peer-to-peer collaboration. I felt very engaged”.

Other conference sessions (see below) explored topics such as universities’ efforts to improve dialogue with society, vaccination biases or the process that leads from university press releases to news articles. All ended with a lively and engaging discussion


Pictures by University of Twente

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