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QUEST journalism toolkit offers new resources for science journalists to enhance their reporting

2021-06-02. The EU-funded project QUEST has released a new set of resources that help journalists report on science-related topics more effectively. The resources are a culmination of two years of research that examined the challenges and pressures science reporters face in today’s fast-paced media environment.

by Teemu Henriksson teemu.henriksson@wan-ifra.org | June 2, 2021

The collection of handbooks, checklists, guides and other materials help journalists writing about science strengthen their skill sets, build their expertise and create stronger engagement with their audience.

The resources included in the QUEST journalism toolkit are available for free at questproject.eu/toolkits. Based on a programme led by City, University of London, a QUEST partner. The research encompassed a series of six workshops in five countries (London, Venice, Trondheim, Dublin, Tallinn and Tartu), with 60+ working journalists and science communicators. The research results were further refined in close collaboration with media professionals, organisations and science journalism trainers.

With this research, QUEST identified the pressures science reporters face in today’s fast-moving news industry, and pinpoint the tools and expertise necessary to help them better report on scientific information. In particular, the research highlighted the need for journalists to develop a richer skill set and an an informed and critical mindset.

The QUEST toolkit for journalists includes the following resources:

  • Explainers and suggestions, covering scientific concepts and statistical terms, and offering advice on how to report scientific findings and use statistics and data visualisations effectively.
  • JECT.AI, a new AI-powered tool that helps journalists and editors report about science more effectively, discovering additional horizons, angles and voices for their stories.
  • Guidelines intended to stimulate reflection and guide journalists through all stages of content development.
  • A presentation for science journalists and trainers offering advice on how to create clear and effective science-related stories.
  • 12 quality indicators that support science communicators in countering misinformation, inspiring young people and improving societal discussion on controversial science topics.

The toolkit for journalists is one of the four QUEST toolkits for science communication professionals; the other toolkits are aimed at museums, scientists and social media content managers.

Barbara Schofield from the Department of Journalism at City, University of London, who devised the toolkit contents, said “Journalists are busy people who are under pressure to deliver to deadlines. Very many newsrooms these days don’t have many, or any, specialist science journalists in the news team – at the same time, science and technology stories are front and central in our lives and demand informed and accurate coverage.”.

“What we heard from the many journalists and media professionals at our workshops was the need for easy-to-access support and tools to approach science topics with confidence, so they can write with clarity and accuracy, using the best scientific evidence.”   

The ongoing pandemic has shown that news audiences are drawn to just such reliable, high-quality information that helps them make sense of the science that underlies much of today’s news. Building on this interest, the new resources from the QUEST project allow journalists to step up their science reporting and engage more effectively with their readership.


CONTACT AND INQUIRIES

Teemu Henriksson, teemu.henriksson@wan-ifra.org

ABOUT QUEST

QUEST (QUality and Effectiveness in Science and Technology communication), aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of science and technology communication in Europe. The QUEST consortium investigates science communication in three strands – journalism, social media and museums – through three focus areas: climate change, vaccines and artificial intelligence. The project takes stock of science communication today, defines quality criteria, and provides supporting tools for journalists, social media managers and museums facilitators. QUEST has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824634.

WAN-IFRA’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation (GAMI) is one of the partners in QUEST,  a project funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

ABOUT WAN-IFRA’S GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR MEDIA INNOVATION

Launched in 2014, GAMI is WAN-IFRA’s network that connects stakeholders involved in research and innovation for news media. The group comprises media innovation labs, news organisations (publishers and suppliers), and academic research labs dealing with technology transfer and research programmes around the world.

Teemu Henriksson

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

teemu.henriksson@wan-ifra.org

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