We are exploring the existing media landscape in science journalism and communication through the prism of engagement, data, innovation, and solutions.
We investigated the existing media landscape in science journalism and communication through the prism of engagement, data, innovation, and solutions. Insights stemming from this research are the result of a participatory methodology, involving and engaging a variety of science information producers, users and stakeholders to assess high quality in science communication and journalism.
Engagement in science journalism
«Engaged journalism is an inclusive practice that prioritizes the information needs and wants of the community members it serves, creates collaborative space for the audience in all aspects of the journalistic process, and is dedicated to building and preserving trusting relationships between journalists and the public.»
To fully benefit from a rapidly changing digital society, citizens need to feel that the information they receive responds to their real needs and is useful to face and solve real problems. The Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and many more global challenges highlight the urgency of improving science journalism in a systematic way.
Now more than ever, science journalism needs to reflect on the relationship with its audience, in order to (re)build trust. We believe this could be achieved through what we call engaged science journalism.
Combining in-depth desk research and semi-structured interviews, we tracked 15 practical experiences testing engagement as a key asset of innovation in science journalism and communication in Europe.
The interviews highlighted 6 areas where engaged science journalism proved to be effective: cross-border journalism, investigative and slow journalism, fact-checking, local journalism, social media, and newsletters.
|Engagement in cross-border journalism||Brigitte Alfter||Arena for Journalism in Europe||EU level|
|Jose Miguel Calatayud||Arena Housing Project||EU level|
|Engagement in investigative and slow journalism||Peter Erdélyi||444.hu||Hungary|
|Alberto Puliafito||Slow News||Italy|
|Engagement in fact-checking||Rocío Benavente||Maldita Ciencia||Spain|
|Karin van den Boogaert||Wetenschap.nu||Netherlands|
|Engagement in local journalism||Raffaele Angius||Indip||Italy|
|Isaia Invernizzi||Eco di Bergamo||Italy|
|Engagement via social media||Massimo Polidoro||L’isola del Mistero||Italy|
|Roberta Villa||RobiVil pages||Italy|
|Engagement via newsletters||Carola Frediani||Guerre di Rete||Italy|
|Priti Patnaik||Geneva Health Files||Switzerland|
Data and open science
After more than two years into pandemic, the importance of addressing the quality and the excellence of using data in journalism is unquestionable.
The current great availability of data, beyond increasing the number of stories and insights that can be drawn from enormous datasets, also highlights the sensitiveness of data usage and the consequences of possible misuse on people’s decision-making.
We choose do deep dive into the topic to understand how the use of data can contribute to excellent journalism. To do so we focused on 15 pieces (with a variety of format and in different languages) that the community of data journalists itself regarded as outstanding ones, plus 5 specifically covering Covid-19.
The result is a collection of practices providing input for further reflection and research within the ENJOI project. These insights might also prove helpful for researchers and specialists outside the consortium as part of a more extensive analysis of what is working and what is not in today’s journalism.
Innovation in science journalism
What does innovation mean in the field of journalism, and particularly in science journalism? To answer this questions, we investigated the role of new journalistic formats (such as webdocs, visuals and infographics, interactive videos and animations) to measure, highlight, and discuss their contribution to the effective conveyance of content, information, and data to different audiences.
We realized the qualitative questionnaire “Innovative digital formats in journalism” asking for the evaluation of 12 selected pieces of innovative science journalism.
The questionnaire results were complemented with the outcomes of 4 in-depth interviews with experts who design and experiment with innovative formats in their journalistic and communication work.
A recent approach, called constructive or solution journalism (SJ), is at the core of this piece of research. SJ aims not only to identify and describe the problem/s a society is suffering from (traditional approach), but also to provide concrete and workable solutions. Once again, innovation is not on technology, but more on the process and on how the content is crafted, organized, and delivered. We provided an extensive description of this new strategy, just before plunging deep into the analysis of a set of 20 stories realized within the methodology of SJ and having as a focus one of the urgent topics of these times: Covid-19, Climate crisis, Water and food shortage, Pollution, and Artificial Intelligence. To better reflect cultural and value differences, the stories chosen for the analysis not only originated in Europe but have been selected also from non-western countries and including examples from the global south. One of the interesting outcomes from this analysis is that it appears that SJ proves to offer a valuable and useful alternative when fragile institutional communication is absent in the public sphere, giving local communities leverage on how to solve a problem without having to rely exclusively on external organizations.