Government plan to ‘shore up’ science journalism

A range of proposals to ‘shore up’ science journalism were set out Wednesday in a Government-commissioned report. One idea is to appoint a national training officer to teach basic science reporting to non-specialist journalists. The Royal Statistical Society has agreed to create the post of National Co-ordinator for Science Journalism and Training, subject to funding. The holder will co-ordinate training of editors and non-specialist reporters throughout the media, as well as trainee journalists at universities. Other recommendations include the establishment of a Science Programming Centre to assist collaboration between scientists and programme makers, a new fellowship scheme to increase the number of people with scientific backgrounds working in journalism, and better training of science press officers. The report also called for the provision of funding for science investigations at the new Bureau for Investigative Reporting at City University in London. The Science and Media Expert Group which produced the recommendations urged the Government to set up a National Commission on the Future of Journalism. The report, Science and the Media: Securing the Future, said general problems affecting journalism threaten the quality and independence of science reporting. Economic and institutional constraints have led to greater workloads for journalists, less time to seek out stories and check facts, and increasing reliance on a limited pool of news sources.


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