World Federation of
Science Journalists

Coverage of the World Conference of Science Journalists 2009

July 21, 2009 posted in Conferences 1 comment >>
1000. Yes! 1000. The organizers of the 6th World Conference of Science Journalists confirm that one thousand science journalists, communicators and scientists participated in the Conference, from June 29th to July 2nd 2009, in London, United Kingdom.

This unprecedented number of participants – Montréal and Melbourne had 600 participants in 2004 and 2007 – with the incredibly sunny London and dream program – made everyone believe that science journalism still has a great future.

London was also the most talked about – and certainly blogged about – of all previous world conferences. Below are several links to some of the most interesting coverage. (Thanks to Mun-Keat Looi for collecting and posting most of those links on the ABSW website: )

Photo from the first day of the Conference
Plenary 1: New media, new journalism?

First, read the post of the person who put together the superb program of the London Conference, Fiona Fox, London Conference Program Director and Director of the United Kingdom’s Science Media Centre:

Then there is the analysis of the Conference from Cristine Russell, Chair of the Unites States Council for the Advancement of Science Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review: "Some Optimism for the Future of Science Journalism and Especially for International Collaboration"

Lucy Calderon, from Guatemala, wrote about the Conference in Spanish for the web site prensalibre: published in Guatemala. In Argentina, the country’s largest newspaper had space for a picture about its staff science journalist Valeria Roman, the new Vice-President of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Nigerian science journalists Onche Odeh covered the London Conference from a specific angle and his article can be seen on the allafrica website:

The London Conference was live on Twitter, see the #wcsj hashtag. You can view the entire #wcsj Twitter conversation on and try to make sense of the 2,526 tweets from 252 contributors over the course of the conference, with an average of 360 tweets per day. British blogger Ed Yong (Not Exactly rocket Science), the most prolific tweeter at WCSJ, explains the value of the tweets in an article on Live-tweeting the World Conference of Science Journalists

Another British blogger, David Bradley (Sciencebase), wrote that the conference was great for putting faces to the names of people one has met purely through email and Twitter.

Ed Yong’s articles prompted replies from scientist bloggers Mike the Mad Biologist on embargoes and by Kim Hannula on Investigative Science Journalism.

Jacob Aron, a student at Imperial College and a volunteer from the Association of British Science Writers, found the time for his own blog:

SciDev.Net, as it has done for the previous world conferences of science journalists, did some of the best coverage, from the view point of the developing world. They reported several news stories from the conference, including the success of Cairo in hosting the next WCSJ, scheduled for April 2011.

Nature's reporters were reporting from the conference on their In the Field blog.

A fishy beginning
What Climate coverage would David King like to see?
Fraud "endemic to medical publication"
Embargoes debate
Scrutinising big pharma
Swine Flu - don't believe the hype
Achieving global coverage for science – a workshop
London to Cairo

Geoff Watts, of BBBC Radio 4 Leading Edge, took part in the Embargoes debate and had a brief audio package on the conference in his Leading Edge programme.

John Rennie, former editor of Scientific American, commented that what is needed is less science journalism.

Clive Cookson, from The Financial Times, has his spirits lifted and wrote a nice piece on the WCSJ and the supposed 'crisis' in science journalism.

The Columbia Journalism Review had another piece on one of the most lively sessions of the Conference: the accusation that the US National Science Foundation is 'underwriting' science coverage and other models from the 'New Media, New Journalism' session.

Freelancer Matthew Chalmers wrote on science journalism and blogging, following the Blogs, Big Physics and Breaking News session he took part in.

WCSJ News and the Naked Scientists
The official WCSJ news website arried some reviews and short reports of sessions as well as the daily 10 minute podcasts presented by Meera Senthilingam of the Naked Scientists

See also a photo gallery of the event.

posted on July 21, 2009 by  Lucy Calderon
To have had the opportunity to attend to the 6th. World Conference of Science Journalists was a great experience, both for professional and personal growth. So, congratulations for the big success of the activity, and because with this kind of events you are contributing to spread science journalism and to encourage journalists to make a better job.


Lucy Calderon
Guatemalan journalist

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