Upbeat findings on science journalism in developing world

The future seems bright for science journalism in the developing world Copyright: Flickr/Internews Network

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Science journalists in the developing world are more confident than their counterparts in Europe and North America that science journalism has a buoyant future, according to a global report.

The study into the status of global science journalism was published by SciDev.Net in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Museo da Vida, in Brazil, last week (9 January).

The ‘Global Science Journalism Report’ is based on data gathered since 2009 from 953 science journalists across six world regions: Asia and the Pacific; Europe and Russia; Latin America; Northern Africa and the Middle East; Sub-Saharan and Southern Africa; and the United States and Canada.


  • The majority of developing nation respondents would recommend a science journalism career
  • Print remains the world’s most commonly used medium for science journalism
  • But use of web stories and Facebook is also common

It suggests that a perceived crisis in science journalism may be a mainly western phenomenon.

Questions on journalists’ job satisfaction revealed that only 29 per cent of respondents in Europe and Russia and 32 per cent in the United States and Canada agreed that they would "certainly recommend" a career in science journalism to a young student, the report found.

In contrast, 80 per cent of respondents from Northern Africa and the Middle East, 71 per cent from Sub-Saharan and Southern Africa, 61 per cent from Asia and the Pacific and 55 per cent from Latin America said they would do so.

In addition, 66 per cent of all respondents agreed that the tone of science journalism is "not critical enough".

Yet many science journalists in Asia, and North Africa and the Middle East believe that their work is "too critical" for its own good.

Among all respondents, print remains the most widely used medium, with 90 per cent saying that their work appeared in this format.

However, this was closely followed by web-based stories at 87 per cent and Facebook at 75 per cent.

Furthermore, 55 per cent of respondents reported that their work had appeared in web stories more often over the past five years — the highest figure for any medium.

The use of social media is particularly strong in Northern Africa and the Middle East, the report says, and blogs by scientists are used to support the work of journalists in the developing world far more than in Canada, Europe, Russia, and the United States.

"Ultimately, the success of science journalism will be influenced by the ability of knowledge brokers to disseminate information via the channels that are most effective at reaching the right audiences, whether it is print, online or other types," says Jessica Romo, one of the authors of the report, and monitoring and evaluation coordinator at SciDev.Net.

"This will be the decisive factor in driving improvements in science journalism over time."

Link to report

Browse the report below: