International Journalism Festival 2018

Connecting Science and Journalism through Innovation and Collaboration

Home Projects Connecting Science and Journalism through Innovation and Collaboration: a Panel Discussion at the International Journalism Festival

Reporting climate change is complicated. It is full of uncertainty and often requires scientific knowledge and insights to interpret specific events and phenomena.

Bringing scientists and journalists together is needed more than ever before, especially since climate change is one of the most pressing current issues. This is challenging when these two professions cannot connect easily and do not speak the same language.

However, despite the differences in their roles, science and journalism have so much in common.

Both science and journalism seek facts and evidence to interpret what’s happening in our surroundings. They both need to be objective and independent to retain accuracy and credibility. Both are committed to ask the right questions to help answer what the world has not yet been exposed to. Scientists and journalists may speak very different languages, but they do share similarities in their nature and approaches.

So how should we think about connecting these two communities, especially in the context of climate change? And why do we want to do that through innovation and collaboration?

That’s what we will be covering in two sessions at this year’s International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

During our panel session on Connecting science and journalism though climate change and digital innovation, we will first take a bird's eye view to (re)define the roles scientists and journalists play in informing the public about climate change, and explore different steps to achieve that mission. We will look at various threats and issues that prevent the process of expanding the public’s knowledge and understanding, and discuss the changes we need in order to advance.

The session will feature some of the world leading experts from journalism and research fields:

  • Alan Rusbridger, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, the University of Oxford
  • John Reilly, Co-Director, the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
  • Viktorija Mukute, Producer, Contrast VR of Al Jazeera
  • Alok Jha, Public Engagement Fellow, the Wellcome Trust
  • Jonathan Gray, Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies, King’s College London

We will then go deeper into the journalistic challenges around climate change reporting in our workshop session on Facelift challenge: collaborative processes for climate change journalism. In this one-hour session, we will be focusing on not only identifying the issues around climate change reporting, but developing possible ideas for collaborative solutions. This session will focus on three thematic areas: 1) Story, 2) Formats and 3) Resources. Both challenges and solutions will be detailed in a shared document, which we will then open up to contributions from wider communities who were not able to join our sessions in Perugia. Contributors joining us for this session include:


  • Alok Jha, Public Engagement Fellow, the Wellcome Trust
  • Elisabetta Tola, Co-founder, Formicablu
  • Jacopo Ottaviani, ICFJ Knight Fellow and Data Editor for Code for Africa

Lead Contributors:

  • Howard Hudson, Head of Communications, United Nations University - MERIT
  • Martha Otwinowski, Journalism Network Manager, Clean Energy Wire
  • Oscar Marin Miro, Data Researcher, Outliers Collective
  • Ewa Hermanowicz, Communications Officer, European Forest Genetic Resources Programme
  • Roy Cohen, Documentary filmmaker (“Machine of Human Dreams”) and Founder, Backyard Media
  • Arthur Wyns, Program Manager, Climate Tracker
  • Marta Catalano, Digital Author, Public Media Alliance
  • Vijay Shankar, freelance science journalist

Session Moderator:

  • Rina Tsubaki, Communications Manager - Strategic Partnerships, European Forest Institute

Session Rapporteur:

  • Atiqah Fairuz Salleh, Digital Communications Editor, United Nations University - FLORES

The sessions are convened by the Lookout Station, and co-organised by various organisations who are working to connect science and journalism. The co-organisers, contributors and supporters include: Formicablu, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Code for Africa, United Nations University, Public Media Alliance, Climate Tracker, Clean Energy Wire (CLEW), Outliers Collective, Backyard Media, European Forest Genetic Resources Programme, and the Embassy of Israel in Italy.

Come and join us if you are at the International Journalism Festival! For more general information about the festival, visit here.

Partners & Contributors

International Center for Journalists logoInternational Center for Journalists logo
United Nations University logoUnited Nations University logo
Code for Africa logoCode for Africa logo
Climate Tracker logoClimate Tracker logo
Clean Energy Wire logoClean Energy Wire logo
Public Media Alliance logoPublic Media Alliance logo
Outliers Collective logoOutliers Collective logo
Story Care logoStory Care logo
Backyard Media logoBackyard Media logo
European Forest Genetic Resources Programme logoEuropean Forest Genetic Resources Programme logo
Embassy of Israel in Italy logoEmbassy of Israel in Italy logo