WCSJ2017 Organizers Announce Program Sessions and Schedule

SAN FRANCISCO (May 1, 2017) — Organizers of the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists today unveiled a comprehensive program of sessions focusing on professional development, leading-edge research and issues in science and journalism for the five-day meeting to be held this October. Registration and access to the full preliminary program, which features renowned plenary speakers, opens at noon Pacific time.

The 2017 edition of WCSJ, the biennial meeting of international science journalists, will be held October 26 to 30 in San Francisco, California, a global hub of science and technology innovation. This year marks the first time the conference will be held in the United States. The program and registration information can be accessed at www.wcsj2017.org.

“We are thrilled to invite science writers from around the world to participate in this exciting global meeting,” said WCSJ2017 Organizing Committee Co-Chairs Cristine Russell and Ron Winslow. “American science writers will have a unique opportunity to network with colleagues from the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.”

The conference is produced by the U.S. National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW), in partnership with the World Federation of Science Journalists, which represents more than 50 science journalist organizations from around the world. Host universities are the University of California, Berkeley (UC-Berkeley) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The program was developed by an international committee headed by Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and director of the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The program includes 49 breakout sessions centered around seven themes, including a rich selection of science and society sessions and research briefings organized by CASW on topics that range from South American dinosaurs to gene editing. A track on global health journalism produced by the U.S. Association of Health Care Journalists will tackle public health issues such as the refugee crisis and antibiotic resistance.

Professional development sessions are a highlight throughout the conference and focus on challenges facing today’s science journalists as well as in depth “how to” sessions such as putting character into writing, fact checking and engaging audiences with humor. A special plenary panel on science journalism, authoritarian regimes and pseudoscience is one of several timely sessions that touch on global issues in journalism.

The fourth afternoon of program sessions will take place on the campuses of UCSF and UC Berkeley on Sunday, October 29. The two universities and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will offer free lab tours, Lunch with a Scientist, open houses and even a concert. Two workshops will be offered at the campuses on Sunday. One on investigative reporting with industry documents will be presented at UCSF, and a two-part workshop on data journalism will be held on the Berkeley campus.

On the final day of the conference, October 30, attendees will be able to select from 13 science-related field trips in the San Francisco Bay area, organized by the Northern California Science Writers Association. Most of the tours will be offered at a below-cost rate of $20-$25.

Registration for the conference opens at noon Pacific Time on Monday, May 1 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 12. Attendees are encouraged to register early to take advantage of early registration discounts and to secure preferred pre-conference offerings and post-conference tours. The conference will be based at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Plenary speakers include Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Thierry Zomahoun, president and chief executive officer of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences; UC Berkeley biologist Jennifer Doudna; Alberto Cairo, Knight chair in visual journalism at the University of Miami; and from UCSF, Jeffrey Bluestone, president and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Bestselling author Mary Roach—Stiff and Packing for Mars—will join Ed Yong, writer for The Atlantic and author of I Contain Multitudes, for a special plenary session called “Book It.”

Several pre-conference activities are available, including the full-day Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop for Latin American and Caribbean journalists on Wednesday, October 25; a Thursday morning, October 26 symposium on “New Genetic Technologies: Ethical Debates and Global Science Policy” organized by The Hastings Center, a bioethics research center in New York; and workshops on “Emerging Infectious Diseases: Post Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean” on Thursday morning and on “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security” at UC Davis on Wednesday. The Ealy workshop is sponsored by Fundación Ealy Ortiz of Mexico, and the additional workshops are sponsored by Research Councils UK and presented by WFSJ.

To learn more, visit www.wcsj2017.org and subscribe to the newsletter and updates. Also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


Rosalind Reid, executive director, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing: ros@casw.org

Tinsley Davis, executive director, National Association of Science Writers: director@nasw.org

Damien Chalaud, executive director, World Federation of Science Journalists: dchalaud@wfsj.org