The press meets the ESRF

02-12-2004

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A total of 25 science journalists from eight different countries in Europe visited the ESRF last week. The science writers had the chance to meet the scientists and some users who were doing experiments at the time. The trip was organised by the ESRF and the AEPI, a company that promotes the Grenoble area, together with the European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations (EUSJA).

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They came to Grenoble looking for news, and most of them could already start thinking of the shape of their next article. The visit to the ESRF was structured in a dynamic way to prevent them getting bored. The started off the day with couple of brief presentations by the Director General, Bill Stirling, and the Head of the Industrial and Commercial Unit, Manuel Rodríguez, to sample the flavour of the ESRF. Shortly after, they were split into five different groups and guided to the beamlines by the Communication Unit and Guillaume Potdevin, a Ph.D. student. This provided the opportunity for the journalists to chat with the scientists in an informal atmosphere about their research, to see their working places and their teams. Journalists were keen to exchange business cards with researchers, which will allow the former to get in touch with the latter when writing an article.

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The science writers that came to the ESRF are specialised in different aspects of science, and most of them work freelance in their countries. Freelancers are the most difficult kind of journalist to get in touch with, since they are not registered as staff in any media.

This is the first time that the ESRF has organised an event specifically for the press. The success of this trip opens doors for new study trips by the press from different European countries to the facility.