Atomic Reporters is an independent, non-profit, incorporated in Canada at the end of 2012, operating as an officially recognised international NGO from Austria, providing substantive and non-partisan information to journalists about nuclear science and technology.
Here are some examples of what they are doing:
Atomic Reporters has been part of the Fissile Material Working Group (FMWG), a non-governmental international coalition of 80 organizations providing recommendations to the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit.
Among concerns expressed by Atomic Reporters, reflected in the recommendations is the need for “enhanced interaction” with media. This arose from a shared goal.
Journalists can benefit from being better informed about a little understood but severe risk. The FMWG wants to close gaps that leave nuclear and radioactive material vulnerable to criminals or terrorists.
Getting word out to the public is what journalists get paid to do. They are also first responders. In the event of a dirty bomb or radiological dispersal device attack how do you protect yourself? Specialists will offer journalists protective steps they can take at a workshop they are organizing in Rotterdam in 2016.
They have also held successful workshops for journalists in Vienna from throughout the Middle East, from Israel to Iran. In 2015 they organized the first workshop of its kind in New Delhi for journalists working in India’s lively media scene. There have also been Atomic Reportersworkshops in Amman, Jordan, and Cairo, Egypt, and they have taken journalists into a nuclear power plant.
Their funders have included the Carnegie Corporation, the Stanley Foundation, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Austria and the United States.
Nuclear is a compelling and little told story, ripe fruit on the tree. From saving life to ending it all, they think by outfitting journalists to scale the wall of knowledge that surrounds it the story is more likely to be told.
The first nuclear weapon was detonated nearly 70 years ago and the first domestic use of electricity from a nuclear reactor commenced nearly 60 years ago. The use of nuclear technologies is ubiquitous today in medicine, industry and science.
Insufficient knowledge hinders most journalists from adequately covering issues dealing with nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Failure of the press to challenge false claims prior to the Iraq war in 2003 has been well documented. Few journalists understood how a nuclear reactor worked when the Fukushima accident occurred in Japan in 2011.
Journalists working in print and electronic media, broadcasting via radio, TV and the Internet, are the main conduits of information to the public.
Atomic Reporters acts as an information broker improving journalistic understanding and coverage of nuclear issues. Policymakers themselves need to be better-informed as does the general public. The future of nuclear weapons, the safety of nuclear power, nuclear security, and concern about the soaring use of ionising radiation in medicine, for example, should be the focus of informed public debate. Better reporting would contribute to a more engaged public and more responsive policy.
The issue is particularly acute for journalists in countries building, or considering the introduction of nuclear power for the first time. Public oversight is acknowledged as an indispensable element in effective nuclear safety. An informed and independent media is vital. In Middle East countries, where a proposal to create a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is under consideration, there is a need for greater understanding of the role of journalists in achieving that aim.
Atomic Reporters is organizing workshops and seminars and will provide online training opportunities for journalists. Its goal is to become a reliable and fact based resource for reporters, particularly when there are major events in the nuclear world that require better public understanding.
Where is Atomic Reporters