Note: This post was written by Vitalba Crivello, Policy Analyst, European Science Media Hub.
In an era of alternative facts and misinformation, the loss of public trust is not only a challenge for scientists, experts and the media, but also for policymakers and for society as a whole. Scientists often blame the media for incorrect reporting, while the media are critical of scientists’ ability to engage with the public. Citizens may feel confused by news headlines about scientific studies which can sometimes come to different, if not contradictory, conclusions.
The European Science-Media Hub (ESMH) was launched in June 2018 to help address these issues. The ESMH, operating under the political responsibility of the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), acts as a centre for information, networking, education and training in science journalism. It is a platform promoting knowledge sharing between the European Parliament, the scientific community and the media.
Eighteen intense months have elapsed since the initial meeting, attended by PLOS among other members of the scientific community, European research organisations and journalists.
Since the ESMH website was launched a year ago, 29 journalistic articles have been published, written in collaboration with journalists and scientists on topics including AI, new technologies, disinformation, communication and social sciences. Each article is accompanied by interviews with experts (40 to date) and highlights related to EU-funded projects. Articles appear every second Wednesday, alternating with the ESMH Press Review “Two weeks of science” (22 issues to date) prepared by the ESMH team by tracking trending topics in the media.
ESMH 2019 Highlights
- Prepared a series of 7 thematic videos, touching upon scientific topics of particular interest, dealt with by STOA during the 8th parliamentary term.
- Organised thematic workshops for journalists, including ‘Tackling dis/misinformation in Science’
- Organised a workshop for the general public entitled ‘Virality and influencers in digital communication’
- Organised the first edition of the European Youth Science-Media Days (EYSMD) – the ESMH summer school for young journalists “AI and journalism”. This was the first event of its kind, providing the 80 attendees with an overview of existing links between artificial intelligence (AI) and journalism.
- More than 350 journalists, science communicators, and representatives of research organisations and EU institutions now regularly receive ESMH updates.
What’s on the radar for the Hub in 2020?
- To strengthen networks, the ESMH is currently working in cooperation with the European Parliament Liaison Offices to organise a series of Science-Media events in some EU Member States, in the framework of the ESMH project on ‘Engagement of science journalists/communicators in ESMH activities’ (launched in 2019). The events have the dual purpose of raising awareness about the ESMH platform and exploring the different needs of media stakeholders in order to better adapt the ESMH offer for these communicators.
- We are also enlarging our community of science writers via a devoted Call for Expression of Interest.
- We are upgrading our media intelligence technology to produce a richer version of the ESMH press review.
- In May, we plan a series of website articles focused on the environment, in view of the second edition of the ESMH summer school, already under preparation. The event, entitled ‘Digital technologies for environmental sustainability’, will take place in Strasbourg in coordination with the broader European Youth Event (EYE).
- In June, another event in the pipeline for this summer is the ‘Science Week at the European Parliament’, which will be organised by STOA in Brussels and will be co-ordinated with the Directorate-General Research and Innovation of the European Commission, the European Research Council (ERC) and, possibly, the Joint Research Centre. The ESMH plans to replicate the experience of 2019 by organising a thematic workshop for journalists and a pitching session between journalists and researchers.
- Last but not least, the ESMH is planning to hold sessions at two major international conferences: the International Journalism Festival (IJF) in Perugia (April 2020) and the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in Trieste (July 2020).
For regular updates about the ESMH, you can sign up here.