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QUEST toolkits: new resources to support science journalism

2021-05-14. The collection of handbooks, checklists, guides and other materials from the QUEST project aims to help journalists writing about science improve their skillsets and expertise.

by Teemu Henriksson teemu.henriksson@wan-ifra.org | May 14, 2021

How can we help journalists report on complex scientific issues in a way the public can understand and trust? Can we support science journalists in developing richer skillsets, allowing them to scrutinize research findings more effectively and better understand scientific concepts and statistical terms?

These are some of the questions that the new materials released by the Horizon 2020 project QUEST – QUality and Effectiveness in Science and Technology communication aim to answer.

QUEST’s toolkits for scientists, journalists, museum facilitators and social media managers aim to support a broad range of science communicators with their communication activities. The full toolkits are available here, or read on to learn more about the resources created specifically for journalists writing about science. (You can access these resources directly from the sidebar.)

Tools built for and with journalists

The creation of the toolkit materials was preceded by an extensive research process: QUEST held a series of guided workshops with working journalists, media professionals and science communicators, focused on exploring the pressures science reporters face in fast-paced media environments. By engaging with the journalism community, QUEST identified the tools and expertise necessary to help journalists interpret scientific papers and to interrogate and convey statistics, data and scientific information.

At the same time, collaboration and consultation with media professionals, organisations and science journalism trainers served to fine-tune the toolkit focus and content. These included WAN-IFRA and the Department of Journalism at City, University of London (QUEST partners), BBC Science (a QUEST stakeholder), Science Media Centres in the UK and Germany, and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The insights drawn from this work are now included in the 5-part Science Explainers for Journalists and Guidelines for Journalists, available in an accessible format with at-a-glance definitions and descriptions – users are encouraged to download or print them as necessary.

The journalists’ toolkit also highlights JECT.AI, the innovative digital research tool developed as a QUEST initiative to enhance research activities, find new story angles, and introduce a wider variety of viewpoints to reporting of science journalism. You can read more about the tool here and on JECT.AI’s website.

A powerpoint presentation is intended for use on science journalism programmes, trainee journalism schemes, and as an aide-memoire to professional development initiatives within media organisations.

Finally, the Journalists’ Toolkit also offers QUEST’s Quality Indicators, and a podcast series featuring contributions from journalists and scientists on how best to communicate some of the most pressing issues facing humanity – the climate crisis, artificial intelligence, vaccines and COVID-19. The podcast series features contributions from female scientists and specialist journalists as workshop participants had suggested the views of this group are under-represented and under-exposed.

The full toolkits are available here!

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WAN-IFRA’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation is one of the partners in the EU-funded project QUEST – QUality and Effectiveness in Science and Technology communication. Interested in knowing more about QUEST? Head to the project’s website.

(With thanks to Barbara Schofield)

Teemu Henriksson

Project coordinator at Global Alliance for Media Innovation / WAN-IFRA

teemu.henriksson@wan-ifra.org

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