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‘Nano-Trip’ to Ankara: New Study Tour for Young Journalists

1 November 2009 | PROJECT NEWS


Turkish labs working on ‘cloaking’ metamaterials and organic lasers will host a group of young journalists this week, launching the EU programme ‘REsearch LAbs for TEaching Journalists’ (RELATE). 

The journalism students from five European universities will be in Ankara from 1-6 November as guests of Bilkent University Nanotechnology Research Center. The project brings scientists face to face with next generation journalists in a two-way learning curve. The reporters will shadow and interview researchers, write daily blogs and produce a final article, audio or video piece. This should demystify the research, be engaging, balanced and accurate, while exploring the possible impacts and benefits for society. 

The young journalists will then pitch their work to mainstream and science media with the help of the European Journalism Centre. For a taste of their backgrounds: one has already written for a top Italian newspaper, and another has worked for the Lithuanian national broadcaster. The programme is building bridges across Europe: between scientists, journalists and the rest of society. It is also a showcase for cutting-edge cooperation between the EU and candidate countries. 


Later this month, seven young journalists will travel to ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) near Rome, then five more will visit EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland. These trips will cover the latest research into climate change, alternative energies and bioengineering. A second application window is open until 30 November 2009, feeding the following rounds in March and November 2010. Journalism students, particularly from new member states and candidate countries, are encouraged to apply online at:


RELATE is a project funded by the European Commission under the Science in Society research area of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Up to 80 young journalists will visit labs across Europe, interview researchers, then publish their findings. Their articles should ‘make sense of science’ for a non-specialist audience. Project partners include Minerva Consulting and Communication (Belgium), the European Journalism Centre (The Netherlands), and three European research bodies: ENEA (Italy), EPFL (Switzerland) and TÜBITAK (Turkey). 

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Embedded Science Reporting with RELATE
Week-long encounters brought journalists and researchers together, getting researchers out of ivory towers and journalists out of deadlines. These punctual collaborations paved the way to a more knowledgeable and trust-based relationship between researchers and journalists, improving, ultimately, the quality of science reporting.