#onsci July 18 2013: The Venn diagram of communicating science

The 8th World Congress of Science Journalists was held in Helsinki, Finland just one month ago.

A key theme at the congress was the concept Critical thinking in the public sphere, exploring the rapidly changing world of professional and public media platforms. Congress attendees were encouraged to explore the question of whether journalists will still be needed in the future (you can review some of the ideas from the Congress here and here).

Although the tyranny of distance prevented many of us science- and media-loving Australians from attending the Congress, we have been actively discussing related themes across various platforms nonetheless.

ABC journalist and science journalist Joel Werner got the ball rolling in mid June, when as @realscientists curator he asked the questions:

Ok. Something that @wendyzuk and I often chat about: the difference between science communication and science journalism?

Are they mutually exclusive? Mostly the same? A Venn overlap? All science journos are science comms but not all sci comms are sci journos?

A stream of responses came in (which you can review in this storify compilation).

Quite independently and around the same time, another ABC Radio National journalist Natasha Mitchell sent the following tweet from the Congress:

 Leigh Dayton @ #WCSJ2013 in Helsinki now: (science) “journalism is dead on its feet in Australia”

It triggered a great response from the twittersphere, which has been summarised here, and taken a few steps further here, here and here.

A related conversation was also sparked within the membership of the Australian Science Communicators, as we attempted to wrap out heads around modern definitions of science journalism and science communication, and grappled with issues relating to bias, reporting, audience perceptions and weaving together complementary skills to forge a career in writing about science. The following articles were referred to during these conversations:

Hot off the internet presses, the following article published today delves more deeply into the critical role that partisan journalism has played in science and history: From Tom Paine to Glenn Greenwald, we need partisan journalism.

To keep the ball rolling even further, over the past couple of weeks training courses in Communicating Science and Social media for scientists have kicked off and sparked conversations on and offline, especially regarding the idea that as science communicators we are responsible for creating our own audiences.

What does this all mean for the #onsci community and others who communicate science on and offline?

Join us Thursday July 18th from 9pm AEST as we explore the Venn diagram that represents science journalism, science communication, media platforms and the idea of audience.

Find @onsci and hashtag #onsci on twitter to follow or participate. All welcome!


  1. […] July 2013: The Venn diagram of communicating science […]

  2. […] Enjoy, and hope to see you at #onsci! Tonight’s chat starts at 9pm AEST, and questions will explore the Venn diagram that represents science journalism, science communication, media platforms and the idea of audience (background here). […]

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