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Journalists ‘need to be champions of evidence not just speculation’, says head of new Science Journalism MA

Last night celebrated the launch of City University’s new Science Journalism MA; its first students had front row seats for the libel debate featuring, among others, science journalist Simon Singh and blogger/doctor, Ben Goldacre.

Around 75 per cent of the students come from science backgrounds, its course leader Connie St. Louis, a former BBC journalist, told Journalism.co.uk.  Science, health, medicine and environment are on the front pages more than ever, she said.

“This MA is designed to fill the gap between poor reporting and good reporting – to make sure the journalists for the future are multi-skilled, well informed, can negotiate science papers and understand the process of science and become champions of evidence not just speculation.

It’s ‘essentially unravelling of the scientific process’ she said.

But, added St. Louis, she is not keen on scientists replacing journalists as the purveyors of scientific news: “I think there’s a danger when scientists themselves report the news. I think the role of journalist as the adjudicator and the person who understands, interprets and contextualises the story is incredibly important.”