Embedded Journalism

Derailed Science

Journalism in Decline?

Science very similar to the banking sector

The emotions were running high. Science Journalism in decline? A memorable meeting. It certainly was due to that speaker Frank Miedema (scientist and director), who threw – right after the break – the cat among the pigeons. The venue was the Tinbergen Hall of the venerable KNAW ( Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) in the heart of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. More than 100 attendees (mostly journalists) had come to the title of this symposium (on the last day of October 2013). As chairman Peter Vermij ( former science journalist ) revealed, the title is rather doctored. The latest and brave version appeared on the screen: Tasks for Science Journalism….First it was “cultured meat, cancer and cold fusion”. Dirk van Delft (Museum Boerhaave , Leiden University and newspaper NRC Handelsblad) gave a nice timeline: where does science journalism come from? Hans van Maanen (freelance science writer) asked aloud the question: what went wrong? The status of the science journalist appears in editorial world to be low. How do we turn a bridge? In the coffee break there was much talk about this, but also about the drastic reorganization these days by publisher Sanoma .

Frank Miedema

Where are you, science journalist?

Miedema ( Dean and the Board UMC Utrecht ) challenged immediately after the break. Science these days is very similar to the banking sector. In a sense, there has been derailed science. “Did you read How Science goes Wrong, in The Economist”? Science is at least as important as the banking sector. Where are you, science journalist ? Fortunately, there was grumbling from the audience. Tonie Mudde (science editor at the Volkskrant newspaper) painted a different picture. With his “Diary of an Animal” he created a science soap and hype around a mouse in a Research Laboratory. To this end he was embedded in a Lab . This series yielded much response from readers and also convinced the editors of the magazine Quest. The reader is indeed interested in science, but we have to be creative. A call to action! .