MUNICH, GERMANY--As many U.S. and other newspapers continue to lay off science journalists, reporters still covering technical topics say they increasingly need good-quality images, as well as researchers who can help make science more understandable.
Judging the trustworthiness or integrity of scientific findings while avoiding "hype" also emerged as key concerns for reporters who took part in the survey, sponsored by EurekAlert!, the science-news Web site of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The survey, released today during the EuroScience Open Forum 2006, reflected the responses of 614 reporters and 445 public information officers.
Survey details were disclosed beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Forum am Deutschen Museum, Helios Room, Munich, Germany, during a session titled "Myths of science: Glowing monkeys, wonder dogs, and more." The session, featuring top researchers, as well as reporters from the Washington Post, Financial Times, and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, was co-sponsored by EurekAlert! and the Max Planck Society.
Predictably, when asked to rate a series of challenges, reporters said that their top concern is to learn about breaking science-news stories before the information reaches either competitors or the public.
Beyond these usual news-reporting concerns, however, finding researchers capable of explaining science in an understandable fashion was the task most frequently cited by reporters as either "very challenging" or "moderately challenging." Obtaining photographs or other multimedia materials to help convey complex scientific content was the next task most often listed by reporters as either very challenging or moderately challenging. Another of the most vexing concerns for reporters, ove