Conflicts of Interest for Freelance Science Journalists

Conflicts of Interest for Freelance Science Journalists

A1) Conflicts of Interest for Freelance Science Journalists

Moderator: Bianca Nogrady
Organizer: Bianca Nogrady

As well-paid, freelance commissions in science journalism become harder to find, freelancers are supplementing their income by providing science writing services to the public and private sectors, teaching or accepting support such as travel and accommodation.

This raises conflict of interest issues when they may be asked to report in a journalistic capacity for those same companies or organizations. However there is no universal standard or guide for freelance journalists on what should be disclosed about their potential conflicts of interest, how those disclosures should be done, when should be done and how long those conflicts last.

Nor is there a standard for editors about considering conflicts of interest in their freelancers and how to handle them.

This session is aimed at freelance science journalists and the editors who commission them. An international panel of freelance science journalists and editors will explore the conflicts of interest encountered by freelancers and their editors, how they arise, what impact they have on freelancers and editors, and how individuals currently handle them. Speakers will describe their own experiences with this issue, how they have handled the situations and what they see as best practice for managing conflicts of interest in freelancing.

The goal of this session is to not only outline the situation, but lay the groundwork for an informal standard for freelancers on handling conflicts of interest in their work.