Latin America regional coordinator, SciDev.Net
Tomorrow I am going to share the results of a survey of the global state of science journalism.
Some time ago I joined an initiative to map this subject, led by Martin Bauer of the London School of Economics, United Kingdom, and based on a questionnaire developed by the university.
We (the Ibero-American Network for Monitoring and Training in Science Journalism, a collaboration between ten countries in the region) put particular effort into collecting data in Latin America, and the results were very interesting.
Science journalists in Latin America are largely female, young and have full-time jobs. A high number of respondents (62 per cent) have been working in the field for less then ten years. The press and Internet are the media most likely to cover science.
The role of science journalism is to inform (40 per cent) and to translate complex information (23 per cent). Only three per cent of respondents saw the need for science journalists to provide a more critical perspective.
The survey raises many questions. Do most science journalists not survive more than ten years – or has science journalism been attracting more people recently? How much has the recognition of science as key for social development in several countries in the region, at least in the speech of policymakers, contributed to the increase? How much have the training workshops that we, SciDev.Net, have been carrying out in Latin America in the last ten years contributed to the increase?
It is a pity that radio and TV, more frequently accessed by people in developing countries, cover little science. It is also a pity that Latin American journalist give more room for science from the developed world to the detriment of local and regional science.
Do you want to help us to think about these issues? Please participate in this worldwide survey! It takes only 10 minutes:
Questionnaire in English: http://www.psych.lse.ac.uk/surveys/WCSJ_2011_Questionnaire/
Questionnaire in Spanish: http://www.psych.lse.ac.uk/surveys/WCSJ_2011_Cuestionario/
Please don’t participate if you have already completed the questionnaire. Let’s talk more about this issue at the next conference?
Luisa Massarani is also head of Museum of Life, a hands-on science museum in Brazil.