Imperial College London

BBC’s Melissa Hogenboom gives prestigious science journalism lecture at Imperial


Melissa Hogenboom delivering a lecture

Imperial College London played host to the Kavli Science Journalism Lecture, held for the first time in Europe.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Kavli Science Journalism lecture series celebrates the role of journalism in enhancing public understanding of science, and in stimulating critical debate about the future directions of science. The lecture at Imperial was given by the BBC’s Melissa Hogenboom, a 2017 winner of the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award.  

In her lecture, Melissa, who launched and now leads the documentary site BBC Reel, discussed her pathway into science journalism, what it's like to work at the BBC, what makes a good story idea, and the importance now, more than ever, of evidence-based reporting for a general audience.  

AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award Lecture at Imperial

As well as describing a day in the life of a science journalist, Melissa outlined the importance of experimenting and doing things outside of your comfort zone. On choosing what stories to work on, she said: “I like thinking about the bigger picture. What conversation is this starting? What curiosity gap is it opening up? Are you advancing conversation that matters? Are you telling someone something new about the world or taking them to somewhere they didn’t imagine? Or are you telling them a little fact they can share in the pub that evening?”  

Imperial’s Provost Professor Ian Walmsley gave the event’s opening remarks, saying: “Communication across science, about science and within science is absolutely a critical part of our discourse. What’s the good of having an idea if you can’t convey it to others in a compelling way?” 

The event was a collaboration between the AAAS and Imperial’s Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, host department of the Science Communication Unit which delivers Imperial's world-leading master’s programmes in Science Communication and Science Media Production.  

Melissa was joined at the lecture by Gareth Mitchell, a lecturer on the Science Communication and Science Media Production MSc programmes at Imperial, teaching radio journalism and audio production. Away from Imperial, Gareth presents the weekly technology show Digital Planet on the BBC World Service.  

Image credits: Fergus Burnett


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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