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Panel session C – Science journalism and ethics of research and innovation

Day 1, 8/10/17 4:30 pm - 8/10/17 6:00 pm

Science journalists see themselves as the watchdogs of science: they fulfill the same general role that journalism has in a democratic society in the field of science and innovation. The SATORI project classified science journalists as “informal ethics assessors” because they evalute the ethical issues related to discoveries, new technologies or scientists’ behaviors using the tools of their profession (inquiry and investigation), especially regarding the impact of innovation on the society. This very important role can be fulfilled only if the basic condition of good journalism is guaranteed: indipendence from any stakeholder. Our panel will discuss the role of science journalists as informal ethics assessors, the role of training in fostering the skills of the profession in the field of ethics, their role as promoters of ethichal behaviors in science and indirect promoters of societal involvement in the research and development process. At the same time we want to highlight the importance of indipendence from any source, even the institutional ones, because too often science journalists are perceived by the insititutions as spokepersons of the “good science” or the responsible research and innovation. An indipendent science journalism needs indipendence from the “good guys” as from the “bad guys”: the experience of formal ethics assessors can be very useful and inspiring to consolidate their role by using appropriate professional tools and principles.


Daniela Ovadia and Dino Trescher, European Union of Science Journalists' Associations (EUSJA)


Sabine Louet portrait missing

Sabine Louet

Editor Euroscientist Magazine, Ireland

Kathryn O’Hara portrait missing

Kathryn O’Hara

Carleton University, Canada, World Federation of Science Journalists