Exploring the future of science journalism

This project, in collaboration with Joost van Kasteren (chair of the Dutch Association of Science Journalists), focuses on the current and potential contribution of independent science journalism to the dialogue between academics and society. The goal of the project is to link insights gained in recent projects (Trustworthy Science and Evidence-Based Policy) with the emerging debate and with developments in science journalism and science communication.

Journalism is under pressure and traditional media business models are proving unsustainable. At the same time, however, the media (print, radio and television and online) is the place that people turn to for independent information. This is where the social debate and public dialogue on science, technology and innovation take place. Experienced independent journalists and commentators play a vital role in prompting, feeding, analysing and, if necessary, steering this debate and decision-making.

The project is addressing questions like: Why is strong, independent science journalism important? What potential is there for further strengthening science journalism? What role should science journalists ideally play in our democratic society that is shaped partly by science and technology? How do stakeholders view current developments in science journalism? How can science journalism remain viable in the future? What arrangements might be made to ensure stakeholders contribute to the continued existence and strengthening of science journalism?

These and other questions will be addressed in an exploratory study of the future of science journalism. The Rathenau Institute plans to discuss prospects and opinions with stakeholders in order to support and widen the debate on the future, role and task of independent science journalism.