The post-truth era? Survey of science journalists


28.06.2017 - 14:15 to 15:30


Auditorium 3, IT University of Copenhagen

Some call this era the post-truth era. Public debate is framed by appeals to emotion and the repeated assertion of talking points and ‘alternative facts’, while expertise is ignored. Aspects of this have been highlighted by the climate change debate and by recent political elections in the US and in Britain.

At the same time, universities and scientists sensationalise their stories to win publicity, and journalists sensationalise their stories to win clicks, undermining the credibility of science, and of journalism.

We asked more than 100 European journalists a series of questions about their own roles in post-truth science journalism, climate change reporting and responsible journalism.

The questions included:

  • To what degree do you consider post-truth to be a problem in science reporting?
  • Do you feel pressured to sensationalise research results?
  • How can we continue to make climate change relevant to audiences?

In this session, the results of the survey will be presented, and the audience, some of whom will have taken part in the survey, are invited to interpret the results.

Science journalism - but for scientists

In the second part of this session, the Danish PhD and PostDoc association will present the results of their annual competition.

PhD and postdoctoral students take part in a science journalism course and write a popular science article about their research. The young scientists get experience in communicating their science to a wide audience and an understanding of how communicators and journalists prioritise when doing stories about research.

The projects are:

1. ’Life and death - on a normal Tuesday’
2. How is equality actually felt in healthcare?
3. The ground under the Little Belt Bridge is moving. Danish engineers are investigating the treacherous underground.



Climate reporting
New media
Responsible journalism