STA's Lea Udovč 3rd in European science journalism competition
Lea Udovč, a journalist with the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and editor of the STA's online science portal, placed third in the competition for this year's European Science Journalist of the Year Award, and was subsequently voted the person of the week of Val 202, the second channel of Radio Slovenija.
Speaking for Val 202 after its listeners voted her the Name of the Week on 30 October, Udovč said she saw both recognitions as a major confirmation that they are moving in the right direction with the STA as well as an encouragement to do even better.
"There are many ideas and wishes for the future, and we hope that we will be able to contribute to the strengthening of science journalism in Slovenia and beyond in the future," said Udovč, who has been editing the STA's online science portal since its inception in 2015.
She believes the support of Val 202 listeners also shows that the public is aware of the importance of quality science journalism in today's world.
"Science journalists can help us understand the complexity and importance of science and the key issues of our time, such as artificial intelligence, pandemics and other health challenges, and the myriad consequences of the climate crisis ... Last but not least, they can inspire individuals, institutions, companies, decision-makers ... to take action and contribute to a better future," she added.
Udovč has been dedicating herself to science journalism for more than eight years working at the STA and the N1 Slovenija news portal. She currently works as journalist and editor of STAscience portal and heads the STA's video service, which was established in May.
Her journalism work includes in-depth stories on topics ranging from medicine, astrophysics, technology, energy, neuroscience, the environment, biology to history, geography and gender.
She has interviewed some of the most prominent names in science, including Nobel Prize laureates Stanley Whittingham, John C. Mather and Rainer Weiss, Vinton Cerf, dubbed the "father of the internet", and astronaut Chris Hadfield.
She is also a guest lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana and at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School.
The European Science Journalist of the Year Award was presented by the European Federation for Science Journalism in Freiburg, Germany, on 25 October. First place went to Niki Korteweg, a science journalist at the Dutch NRC, while Daniel Bolcso, editor of the Hungarian portal Telex.hu, won second place.
"This is a recognition of science journalism in Slovenia and the region," said Udovč about her winning third place, noting that it is also an honour for the N1 Slovenija news portal where she worked in the past and for the STA.
"I am sure the award will give us a new boost so that at the STA we will continue to strive for quality, interesting and creative content from the field of science both in text and video form," Udovč said.
Available in Slovenian and English, STAscience is an open access portal running science news, in-depth stories and interviews, involving multimedia, including video, which links to Udovč's work as head of the STA video service.
The European Science Journalist of the Year Award was established in 2014 by the Association of British Science Writers, and since 2020 it has been handed out annually by the European Federation for Science Journalism with the support of the global information and analytics provider Elsevier.