The European Conference of Science Journalism ECSJ2020 (1 and 2 September, satellite event of the Euro Science Open Forum ESOF2020 Trieste) concluded with participation that went beyond the expectations of the organisers after going fully online.

“We had the pleasure of bringing together 31 speakers from 14 different countries and more than 600 participants from 67 countries*, to discuss issues that are at the core of our profession today”, says Fabio Turone, chair of the organising committee of the event and the president of the professional association of Science Writers in Italy (SWIM). “Topics ranged from the use of scientific evidence in policy-making to the coverage of issues surrounded by high uncertainty, to the need for innovative ways to support independent science journalism. All the talks and panels are now available online as a legacy for our professional community”, continues Turone who is also a member of the board of the European Federation for Science Journalism (EFSJ).

The videos can be found on the conference website

“It was great to see such a huge turnout,” says EFSJ board member Mico Tatalovic, who chaired the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) when it organised the ECSJ2016 conference in Manchester, UK. “Covid travel restrictions posed a huge challenge, but the organisers managed to pull off another great conference at a pan-European level, and with global participation, which is amazing.”

The event concluded with two award ceremonies, Climate Investigation Grant and European Science Journalist of the Year award, both co-organised and promoted by the EFSJ.

“The Climate Investigation Grant has attracted a lot of interest in our community. This is the second edition of the grant, which was first awarded in 2018”, explains Yves Sciama, who chaired the ECSJ2018 conference organised by the French association AJSPI in conjunction with ESOF2018 in Toulouse, and currently sits in the board of EFSJ. “We evaluated 30 projects submitted by 66 journalists from 30 different countries. Proposals included 9 partnerships between European and African journalists, more than double the figures of the first edition”.

Meanwhile, the European Science Journalist of the Year that was launched back in 2014 by the ABSW is now co-organised with the EFSJ, in the hope of widening its scope with the help of new supporters.

EFSJ is currently working with the organisers of the next ESOF in 2022 in Leiden, the Netherlands to continue the tradition of these useful events.

The ECSJ2020 was organised by Science Writers in Italy (SWIM) with support from the European Federation for Science Journalism (EFSJ), EurekAlert!, the Knight Science Journalism Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL), Area Science Park, and the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme Copernicus/ECMWF.

*Participants registered from Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, The Netherlands, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, Uruguay, USA, Vietnam, Zambia.