Health and Science Journalism in the 21st Century: Emerging Practices During Crises

“Health and Science Journalism in the 21st Century: Emerging Practices During Crises” The 21st Century brought dramatic changes and new challenges to health and science journalism practices. With a changing media landscape and new communication technologies disrupting previous journalism practices, journalists in different countries report similar key challenges, stressors and threats to professionalism. These challenges include funding cuts and increased expectations for productivity, public mistrust, difficulty verifying sources, difficulties in covering increasingly polarizing topics, discrimination, and online harassment. These challenges are further intensified for journalists who reside in conflict areas in the Global South, such as South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, and more recently in Ukraine. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified these challenges. Like geopolitical conflicts and wars, the pandemic has disrupted economic and social systems, and increased global inequities, including in health outcomes. Health and science journalists are tasked with gaining public trust, fighting misinformation, and meeting public information needs, while at the same time keeping up to date with rapidly changing science and public health information. Integration of new technologies in the newsroom, and the increased use and influence of social media have added another layer of complexity to the coverage of health and science issues in the 21st Century (Shah, Ginossar, & Ittefaq, 2021; Shah, Ginossar, & Weiss, 2019). As an unintended consequence of this adoption, journalists now cope with increased misinformation and disinformation from different sources, as well as online harassment. These challenges are not impacting journalists equally. Women, those in communities in the Global South, and those whose communities experience geopolitical and other conflicts are disproportionally affected by these stresses (Shah, Ginossar, & Weiss, 2019). Although the role of health and science journalists in providing accurate information has arguably increased in the pandemic, the politization of health and science has weakened public trust in journalism. Studies show that the current pandemic has resulted in politicization of science journalism, especially in nondemocratic settings, resulting in censorship and even self-censorship among journalists (Litvinenko, Borissova, & Smoliarova, 2022), as well as in increased stress (Shah et al., 2022). In view of these changes and the important role that health and science journalists play, it is pertinent to understand how crises and conflicts have affected journalists and journalism practices, including the health and well-being of journalists. The book “Health and Science Journalism in the 21st Century: Emerging Practices During Crises” will explore the emerging practices of health and science journalists as they cover conflicts, displacement, and global pandemics. We are inviting proposals for chapters from diverse perspectives and methodologies exploring journalistic practices in the context of science, public health and conflict. We are particularly interested in the lived experiences of journalists in the Global South and conflict areas.
Some of the questions we seek to answer in this book include the following:

  • What can theoretical, empirical, or comparative analyses teach us about the emerging practices of health and journalists in the 21st Century?
  • How have emerging digital technologies impacted the coverage of scientific and of public health issues?
  • What is the role of health and science journalism in reducing inequities during crises? · What are the differences in the coverage of public health issues across communities, cultures and nations?
  • In what ways do social-political processes, including globalization, the rise of nationalism and populism impact journalistic coverage of science and health?
  • What is the impact of local and global crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic on the ways in which journalists in different contexts cover science and public health-related topics?
  • What are the challenges faced by health and science journalists in countering misinformation/disinformation in different communities and countries?
  • How do politics and culture influence journalistic production of health and science-related stories during wars?
  • How can journalistic coverage of science and public health issues be improved?

Please provide a title and an abstract of up to 500 words, along with a short bio of up to 300 words for all the authors.

Abstract submission deadline: October 30, 2022
Authors will be notified about acceptance by November 15, 2022.
Final submissions of manuscripts: April 1st, 2023.
Please send all submissions to Fawad Shah ((shah /at/ and Tamar Ginossar ((ginossar /at/


Ginosar, A., Zimmerman, I., & Tal, T. (2022). Peripheral Science Journalism: Scientists and Journalists Dancing on the Same Floor. Journalism Practice, 1-20. Litvinenko, A., Borissova, A., & Smoliarova, A. (2022). Politicization of Science Journalism: How Russian Journalists Covered the Covid-19 Pandemic. Journalism Studies, 23(5-6), 687-702. Shah, S. F. A., Ginossar, T., & Ittefaq, M. (2021). “We always report under pressure”: Professionalism and journalistic identity among regional journalists in a conflict zone. Journalism, 14648849211050442. Shah, S. F. A., Ginossar, T., & Weiss, D. (2019). “This is a Pakhtun disease”: Pakhtun health journalists’ perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to polio vaccine acceptance among the high-risk Pakhtun community in Pakistan. Vaccine. Shah, S. F. A., Jan, F., Ginossar, T., McGrail, J. P., Baber, D., & Ullah, R. (2022). Trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder among regional journalists in Pakistan. Journalism, 23(2), 391-408.