World Federation of Science Journalists

Optimism about Science Journalism in the Developing World


January 19, 2013

Journalists and editors in Asia and Africa see an exciting future while their colleagues in Europe, Canada, and the USA, and to a lesser extent in Latin America, believe that science journalism is under threat.

This contrasting perception of the future of science journalism is the main conclusion of a survey of close to a thousand science communicators and journalists across the world undertaken by The London School of Economics and the Brazilian Fundação Oswaldo Cruz for SciDev.net.

The full report, Global Science Journalism Report, can be consulted on the SciDev.net web site.

Martin Bauer from The London School of Economics led the team that started collecting data at the July 2009 World Conference of Science Journalists, held in London, United Kingdom.

The Global Science Journalism Report is the most impressive and first ever effort to survey the working conditions, practice and mood of science journalists worldwide.

Its conclusions confirm what the World Federation of Science Journalists has been aware of for several years: the gloom and doom feelings of science journalists in Western countries, but particularly in the United States, is not matched by their colleagues in Asia, in the Arab World, and in Africa.

The Report is both interesting and valuable for its findings – most science journalists still work in print but the web is increasing its impact – but also for its methodology.

Assembling a credible sample of science journalists that represents the worldwide community is a major challenge. The authors of the study make the point that only half of their respondents identify themselves as full-time science journalists. They conclude saying that: “… it remains unclear who the current survey is representative of. The final sample is unlikely to be representative of the world’s science journalists, as we have little information about this group except that it exists”.

At least, the Global Science Journalism Report is a milestone in an eventual better description of this group that might be retreating in some regions but is growing in other parts of the world.

For more information: