Buried in the middle of RTE’s announcement about the changes in their Current Affairs team was the note that RTE is to create the role of Science and Technology correspondent. It is a long time coming and another sign that RTE is starting to take its commitment to science broadcasting seriously.

Prior to this, RTE had an Education and Science correspondent, but even they admitted that there was more of a focus on education. When you consider how many sports journalists RTE have, it is very peculiar that the state broadcaster has managed to neglect Science and Technology for so long. We may not excel on the world stage in sport as our performance at EURO 2012 highlighted, but we have made strides in the scientific world where we have ranked in the top 20 since 2008, in terms of international rankings for research quality.

While the move is to be congratulated, I hope that the role does not end up as a correspondent who reports on the latest gadget launches, but struggles with the science brief. If anything, RTE should appoint a journalist who has a better subject knowledge of it.

While science is a difficult brief to manage, the challenge for all journalists is to make the complicated interesting. When you consider how science and technology are integral to our everyday lives, let alone the economy, it is vital that the State broadcaster puts more of a spotlight on the STEM sector in order to encourage more young people to pursue careers in related fields and to ensure that we are better informed about relevant issues.

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Piaras Kelly
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