Science and the Media: introduction to the workshop
We live in a world shaped by modern science and technology. A proper understanding of what the products of science and technology have to offer us - and of the threats that these products can pose if improperly handled - is therefore essential for a healthy society.
This is particularly true in the developing world, where both the promises and threats of modern science loom, if anything, even larger than they do in the world's industrialized nations. On the one hand, science and technology offer, through agricultural, biomedical and environmental research, a path to social and economic improvement in an environmentally sustainable manner. On the other, disparities in access to scientific and technical knowledge between rich and poor countries are already becoming one of the major sources of global tension in the 21st century.
Science communicators have a key role to play in addressing both these opportunities and tensions. Some of these individuals may be scientists or professional communicators seeking primarily to convey information to the public about the potential benefits of science and technology. Others, particularly science journalists, may take a different stance, seeking to balance a presentation of these benefits with a parallel discussion of their potential dangers. Both, however, share a common interest in ensuring that science and technology, as well as the debates that take place around them, are reported accurately and fairly (even if they may at times differ on what they consider to be "fair").
The goal of this workshop is to promote better practice in the professional communication of science, particularly in the context of the reporting of science in developing countries. It will seek to achieve this by bringing together a group of professionals from across the world both to learn practical techniques from colleagues on how science communication is most effectively achieved, and hopefully to propose new initiatives that might lead to improvements in common practice within their respective organizations.