Previously worked as a science journalist for The Scientist magazine, Vancouver’s Tyee, the Science Creative Quarterly, Canadian Medical Association Journal and the U.S. Public Library of Science (PLoS). Dr. Secko now studies the future of science journalism. He is the leader of the Concordia Science Journalism Project and our experiential science journalism summer school Projected Futures.
Postdoctoral Fellow, W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia
PhD, Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia
MJ (Science Journalism), University of British Columbia
BSc (Hons.), Life Science, Queen’s University
Areas of research interest
I am currently the Chair of the Department of Journalism and its MA Program Director, with a diverse research team working on digital innovation related to how science is communicated with society through journalism.
Before turning to journalism, I was trained as a molecular biologist at the University of British Columbia. This research focused on the soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum and efforts to understand how it was capable of living a solitary life until starved, where upon it signaled to its kin to organize into a multicellular organism and crawl together to a new source of food. I followed this up with adventures as a science journalist.
At Concordia University, my team works to give journalists and students new tools to communicate science. We are particularly interested in experimental science journalism and innovating with new forms of scientific storytelling. This research seeks to link across journalism, science and ethical issues to clarify and experiment with the roles of publics, experts and journalists in the democratic governance of biotechnology. Examples of our work include examining educational visions for the future of science journalism, the definition and testing of four models of science journalism, and a metasynthesis of the experiences of science journalists. We also study the moderation and design of deliberative engagement events.
This research has won a University Research Award and a Dean’s Award for Excellence. It is put into practice through our summer school, Projected Futures.
JOUR 645 Projected Futures: Experimental Science Journalism Studies
JOUR 500 Critical Approaches to Journalism
JOUR 402 Specialist Reporting: Science
JOUR 205 Principles of Journalistic Thought
Dr. Secko is always interested in speaking with prospective graduate students and research assistants. Dr. Secko's research team is currently focused on the study of the future of science journalism, public engagement with emerging biotechnologies, and innovating with new approaches to scientific storytelling.
MA students interested in working with Dr. Secko need to first be accepted into the Department's vibrant MA program in Digital Innovation in Journalism Studies. Those interested can contact Dr. Secko to discuss working with his research team. Students can complete an MA thesis, a research-creation project, or an essay combined with course work.
Students interested in pursuing a PhD in science journalism or science communication with Dr. Secko should look at Concordia's Individualized Program.
Those interested in research assistantships can contact Dr. Secko at anytime and be studying at any level. Undergrads at Concordia are encouraged to write!
In 2008, the Concordia Science Journalism Project (CSJP; www.csjp.ca) was created by D. Secko to develop a research and teaching platform on science journalism in the department. This platform includes an active and constructive overlap with the wider goals of training in science communication, where journalism foregrounds holding science to public account and an inclusive democratic community.
The CSJP is a collection of projects that is currently focused on the future of science journalism (through Projected Futures) and the SSHRC-funded Communicating Synthetic Biology Project (2017-21). We aim to continually improve the tools and research available to ensure robust, evidence-based science journalism and the ability to positively support everyone's engagement with critical scientific debates and information.