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Projected Futures: the next generation of science reporting

Concordia fights fake news with hard facts at a graduate summer school and the Science Journalism Educator Summit
July 20, 2017
By Cristina Sanza, Tiffany Lafleur

Climate change deniers. Flat earthers. Anti-vaxxers. In an era when information can be twisted and alternative facts are the new reality, science journalists play a vital role in cutting through the fog.

In collaboration with the World Federation of Science Journalists and the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, Concordia’s Department of Journalism is offering an international graduate science journalism summer school from August 7 to 11.

Projected Futures is an intensive and experimental program that welcomes PhD and master’s students from all disciplines to learn how to effectively communicate science.

Taught by journalism chair David Secko, it’s the first of its kind in the department. Its aim is to promote next-generation science journalism and encourage students to get their hands dirty. Participants will immerse themselves in multimedia workshops, in-class simulations and interdisciplinary group-based studies.

Throughout Projected Futures, several science journalists will speak to the students. Concordia will welcome Jay Ingram, science writer and former co-host of the Discovery Channel’s science show Daily Planet, Kate Lunau, editor of Vice’s Motherboard and André Picard, health reporter and columnist for The Globe and Mail

The Science Journalism Educator Summit comes to Concordia

The course invites students to imagine a future for science journalism, which they will present at the Science Journalism Educator (SJE) Summit, taking place from August 10 to 12. Over these three days, educators from across Canada will gather at Concordia to discuss the importance of science journalism and communicating science.

Dan Fagin: “Our work, when we do it right, is rooted firmly in the scientific process.” Dan Fagin: “Our work, when we do it right, is rooted firmly in the scientific process.”

To kick off the SJE summit, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Dan Fagin will give a public lecture on August 10 at 6 p.m. “Connecting Dots and Chasing Butterflies: Communicating Science in a Dark Time” will focus on the power of evidence-based storytelling in a world awash in distrust, tribalism, sensation-seeking and fake news. Fagin will also explain why he’s optimistic about the future of science communication, despite its current obstacles.

"Science journalism is facing many of the same economic and technological pressures as the broader journalism world, but we have an important advantage,” Fagin says.

“Our work, when we do it right, is rooted firmly in the scientific process, a meritocracy of fact and evidence.”

A professor of journalism at New York University and director of their Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, Fagin has written for The New York Times, Scientific American, Nature and Slate.

"The rising profile of issues like global climate change, genetic modification and pandemic disease has made science journalism more vital than ever. It's very encouraging to see so many institutions recognizing this importance,” Fagin adds.

“The Projected Futures program is another example of this. I'm looking forward to learning much more about it at Concordia, and to speaking with students and teachers from across Canada."

for Dan Fagin’s Science Journalism Educator Summit public talk on August 10 and find out more about Concordia’s Projected Futures science journalism summer school, August 7 to 11.


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