World Conference of Science Journalists 2019 – one year to go, first five speakers announced

01/07/2019 - 05/07/2019 CERN
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Posted by CERN, on behalf of WCSJ2019 team

Lausanne, 11 July 2018. In just one year from now, from 1-5 July 2019, the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists, WCSJ2019, will open its doors to over 1000 science journalists and communicators from around the world. Hosted at the campus of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL, and the University of Lausanne, one of the most dynamic higher education and research destinations in Europe, the conference promises a strong core programme and stellar line-up of speakers.

The plenary and keynote programme will feature three strands: science journalism, a more theoretical look at the field, and, of course, there will be a strong scientific presence from leading scientists of our day. It will kick off at the opening ceremony with a panel featuring leading practitioners from print, radio, TV and online, moderated by Pulitzer Prize winning science journalist Deborah Blum. They will discuss the place of science in mainstream media today.

Among the keynote and plenary speakers for the conference will be Jérôme Fenoglio, Editorial Director of the newspaper Le Monde, Jacques Dubochet, 2017 Nobel laureate in chemistry and honorary Professor at the University of Lausanne, Cédric Villani, Mathematician and 2010 Fields Medal laureate, who is now a member of the French parliament, and Harvard Professor of the History of Science, Naomi Oreskes.

“I’m very pleased by the positive responses we’re getting from world leading figures,” said programme committee member Hélène Le Meur. “It’s a strong sign of the importance that’s given to the profession of science journalism from all those who have a stake in science.”

The 15-member programme committee met on 9 July to establish the core-programme of the conference, and over the coming weeks and months, details will be published on the conference website, www.wcsj2019.eu, on social media channels and through the conference newsletter, which people can sign up for through the website.

“Our call for sessions brought in close to 400 proposals from all over the world,” said programme committee chair, Yves Sciama. “The best of these will form the core of the conference, and it is a tough job choosing between them. One thing’s for sure, from the proposals that came in, we are going to have a great core-programme with many workshops and a strong hands-on component.”

Reflecting the WCSJ2019 organising countries’ shared alpine landscape, the conference’s motto is ‘Reaching new heights together’. To this end a number of long term projects are being launched to make the impact of the conference go beyond the conference itself. The first of these, called ‘Struggle with politics’, is already underway.

“We’re living in unprecedented times for science in which many scientists are making forays into politics to defend their field,” said project leader This Wachter. “The struggle with politics project teams up science journalists with some of these scientists to chronicle their journeys into politics.”

“It’s an honour for us to be hosting the 11th WCSJ in Lausanne,” said Chair of the conference board, Olivier Dessibourg. “We’ve got off to a great start, and are well on the way to repaying the World Federation of Science Journalists’ confidence in awarding the conference to us - the programme is shaping up very nicely. In those difficult times for journalism as a whole, WCSJ2019 will be a great occasion to foster and defend quality independent science journalism all over the world.”