It was with relief that last evening I finally received a confirmation of my talk from the organizers of the 2009 World Conference on Science Journalists, an event which will take place in London from June 29th to July 3rd, striving to "bring established and aspiring reporters, writers and science communicators from around the world to debate, network, develop their professional skills and report on the latest advances in science and technology".
I had been invited to attend the works of WCSJ2009 six months ago by Jon Turney, the producer of session 22, "Blogs, big physics and breaking news", but I had not since received the go-ahead for my registration, nor instructions on whether I would get funded to attend: the passing deadlines for registration and accommodation had left me with a feeling of uncertainty. This is now over, and I have proceeded this morning to arrange my travel details. Incidentally, I will bring with me my 10 year old son Filippo, who is understandably enthusiastic of the chance to visit London.
The session summary reads as follows:
How are blogs changing the way science news develops and is reported?I have to say, this is just my bread and butter. I think I will definitely have something non-trivial to say on the matter, possibly basing my talk on a couple of past examples of how scientific news on Higgs boson searches -back then at the Tevatron- have made it to popularization magazines and newspapers, and how one could have figured out whether to get excited by those news or not. The fact that the diffusion of the information stirred some controversy within the originating experiments is only adding some spice to the package.
The commissioning of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will offer a
telling case study over the next few years. Who will be first with news
of the fabled Higgs Boson, and how will we know if they're right?
I look forward to submitting here a draft of my presentation in mid-June, to give you a chance to suggest improvements or just comment on the material. And I will of course be blogging from the conference, in case I stumble on anything worth reporting...