Panel Discussion: What is the media’s role in covering science?

11.00am – 12.00pm on Wednesday, 24 November 2021

(Watch back now – captions available)

Most national media outlets in Ireland have no science reporter or regular science section. Yet, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the public just how intrinsic science is to everyday life, with science informing certain policy decisions or finding solutions to help fight this crisis.

With key experts, this panel discussion chaired by Brian Trench explores what role science reporting is playing in Irish media, and if this has changed in recent years.

This was the third event in the BEYOND CHEERING series organised by the Irish Science and Technology Journalists’ Association (ISTJA) which took a critical look at science coverage in the Irish media. You can watch back our fireside chat which asked if scientists take enough of a stand on critical issues here.

Elaine Burke wearing a black top standing with stage lights in the background

Elaine Burke is editor of Silicon Republic, Ireland’s top news website for science and technology. An award-winning Irish media professional with experience in print, online and broadcast media, Elaine is passionate about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, maths) and effective science communication. Beyond Silicon Republic, she is often heard discussing science and technology on radio and television.

Kevin O'Sullivan wearing a shirt and holding a notepad standing in front of a screen

Kevin O’Sullivan is environment and science editor and lead journalist reporting on climate change with The Irish Times. He served as editor of the paper from 2011 to 2017. He joined The Irish Times in 1997 as environmental and food science correspondent. In his current role, he has a particular interest in climate solutions (especially nature-based actions); sustainability (including the pursuit of the UN SDGs), renewable energy and restoring biodiversity.

Jenn Dunbar with red top and black jacket standing outside with the sea in the background

Jen Dunbar is production manager at the award-winning production company New Decade. She is one of the producers of 10 Things to Know About, the RTÉ TV series that showcases the latest Irish scientific research. New Decade also produced The Investigators, Science Squad and Thinking Outside the Box.

Alan Bennett wearing a black jacket standing in front of a wooden wall

Alan Bennett has had a hand in the development of over 100 podcasts. He started the website in 2014, The HeadStuff Podcast in 2015, the HeadStuff Podcast Network in 2016, the Dublin Podcast Festival in 2017 and opened The Podcast Studios in 2019 and launched HeadStuff+ a membership platform in 2020. He is the current CEO of Podcasts and Stuff Limited.

Brian Trench wearing a blue shirt and red lanyard standing in front of a blackboard with writing on it.

CHAIR: Brian Trench is a writer and editor, specialising in science communication, formerly coordinator of the Masters in Science Communication at DCU. He is co-editor (with M. Bucchi) of the Routledge Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology (3rd ed., 2021) and immediate past president of the PCST (Public Communication of Science and Technology) international network.