Archive by category | World Conference of Science Journalists

Journalism: Extremophiles

I’ve been looking towards today’s sessions because they focus largely on science in developing countries. I’m particularly interested in these sessions because I’ll be in India this summer, where I’ll be focusing on renewable energy development in rural villages.  Read more

Journalism: Comedy conference?

Melbourne this week hosts not only the science journalism conference; there is a comedy convention just down the road. On leaving the hotel last night to go to a networking event I was stopped in the hallway by another guest who asked if I was part of the comedy conference.  Read more

Journalism: Friends close and anemones closer

Journalism: Friends close and anemones closer

A wonderful reception at the Melbourne Aquarium last night gave delegates opportunities to network while enjoying rays, turtles, sharks and a beautiful array of jellyfish. Champagne and canapés, were accompanied by a brass trio clothed in wetsuits, fins, masks and snorkels.  Read more

Journalism: Hobbits and pieces

Journalism: Hobbits and pieces

If any science story has legs it is that of the discovery of a new species of dwarf human on a remote Indonesian island of Flores, published in 2004 by Nature (Vol: 7012 pp: 1055 & 1087). A session on Tuesday looked at how this remained in the media eye so long and the resulting public confusion. The panel were Bert Roberts and Chris Turney of the original research team and Deborah Smith an award winning journalist for her coverage of the story.  Read more

Journalism: Wallaby-ology

Being in Australia, I’ve been keeping my eye out for quintessential Aussie research – and researchers. Today I met Marilyn Renfree, the Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics. She studies developmental biology and uses wallabies as an animal model. This makes a lot of sense since newborn wallabies, being marsupials, are essentially in an embryonic state when they’re born. Unlike humans, they don’t becoming male or female until well after they’ve been born. So, for Marilyn, the wallaby is a perfect model for studying the endocrine pathways controlling sexual differentiation. Interesting, certainly. But what I really appreciated was that, instead of calling herself something unwieldy like a Developmental Endocrinologist, a Mammalian Endocrinologist or a Marsupial Physiologist she simply called herself a Wallaby-ologist. Crickey!  Read more

Journalism: Electrons ain’t the only things with spin

It’s been a morning of science and politics. Today’s opening session focused on the biasing of scientific information. Chris Mooney, Seed Magazine’s Washington correspondent and the author of The Republican War on Science (and the forthcoming Hurricane Wars) spoke about the need for scientists to better “frame” scientific issues so they’re easily digestible and something the public can engage in. Mooney argues this is an effective counter attack – Aussie rules, as he says – on the US Republican stance on issues like stem cell research and climate change.  Read more

Journalism: Breach of security

Before this morning’s opening session commenced, the hotel manager made an apology for the breach of security that had occurred in the night. The ears of those of us not staying in the Hyatt conference hotel pricked up and I’ve been trying to uncover the details ever since.  Read more

Journalism: A whale of a time

Last night at a reception with several eminent speakers Aunty Joy Murphy, a senior woman of the indigenous Wurundjeri people began the evening by inviting us to enjoy the land of her people and handing out leaves from gum trees – a traditional act of welcome.  Read more