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Young Journalists Probe Latest Climate Change Scenarios

9 November 2009 | PROJECT NEWS


A month before the UN climate change conference, ‘REsearch LAbs for TEaching Journalists’ (RELATE) is going behind the scenes at environmental labs near Rome, joining scientists working inter alia on high-res climate change scenarios for the Mediterranean and West Africa. As part of RELATE, seven European journalism students will visit the Casaccia Research Centre of the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) from 9-13 November. Divided by groups, the students will tour various labs focusing not only on climate science, but also photovoltaics, electrical storage, and food genetics. 

RELATE 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. 

The programme aims to build bridges across Europe: between scientists, journalists and the rest of society. 


RELATE was launched last week with a visit to the Nanotechnology Research Center of Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Next week, five more students will visit EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Lausanne, Switzerland. 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:

NOTES FOR EDITORS: 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.