Pawel Lisicki, Editor-in Chief of Rzeczpospolita

Thank you very much. It is a great pleasure and honour to be here.

First of all, I would like to thank you, Mr Valéry Giscard d’Estaing for some words which you said, I will quote them: “We need a printed press, we need words”. That makes my future a little bit more optimistic, because not everybody is really so convinced that we need a printed press, especially in present time, when we have to do with such enormous growth and development of internet and new media.

But why do I think that this thesis, which Mr President said, is so important. Because what is the advantage of printed press and printed words in comparison with other forms of media activity. First of all I think that in printed press you are able just to deliver thought, we are able to think in a critical way, we are able to analyze the reality and to focus on the content of this, what is said and what is thought. And that is the huge difference if you compare with other media. I wouldn’t say that journalists work in printed media are in a way better than their colleagues from other media, but they have more time and they have to concentrate more on the real content and not so much on the form or on the outlook of this what they said or what they write.

And that makes me go to the core of our discussion and to ask which are the most fundamental conditions that this whole initiative that Atomium Culture prepared could be successful. We have a situation like that, there are three worlds: world of science, world of business and world of journalism and media. And the main problem for us is how to combine these three worlds and how to create a real communication between people working in these different worlds. Because on the highest level of abstraction this cooperation seems to be very easy, in fact we think over that it’s something obvious that universities should cooperate with business and universities should cooperate with journalists and in fact it’s something of very easy support for this idea.

But the problem is, as I said before ,the problem lies in communications, in the language in which the scientists are going to communicate with the public opinion.
That is the question: who the journalist is, what is his role in the democratic society?

In my opinion, the journalist shouldn’t be a specialist. I am also, as my colleague from Spain, I am not a professional journalist. I finished Law at Warsaw University and in fact my journalists who work in the science section, most of them are also not professional scientists and I think that it’s an advantage, because in that way they are able to think as the readers think and they are able to translate the complicated, sometimes very highly complicated language which scientists use in their work. So, to reach the reader, to reach to the readership, so to reach average educated people who usually not have so much time to go very deeply in some particulars and some facts, but to catch the general ideas from the science.

I would say that the role of the journalist is to be in between: in between I mean if we have on one hand a scientist with a very thorough and deep knowledge and on the other hand the public opinion, people who have usually not much time, just some kind of general education, even if it’s high education, people who have not so much knowledge especially concerning the sciences like physics, like chemistry, like mathematics, like biology. And the journalists are in between, so they are able to: firstly to go to the scientist to understand what they do and then to translate it to the language which is understandable for normal readers, because that’s the crucial condition for the whole enterprise which Atomium Culture started: that the text which the printed press is going to publish must be attractive. Because, otherwise, the whole enterprise wouldn’t be successful. Only if you are able to this scientific language or the language of scientists into understandable and attractive language for normal readers, that is the crucial point for the success of the whole enterprise.

Maybe some personal experience, I would say that our newspaper, Rzeczpospolita, which is in fact the most authoritative in Poland, was the first one which started the science section in Polish press and we’ve been publishing this section for ten or eleven years; we started with one page once a week, now we’ve got two pages everyday. So it shows how enormous is the demand to have more knowledge and more information in our readers and in fact I would say that’s the highest group in Polish society. But to be really successful, we can’t skip other media, we have also to find a way how to reach other journalists and how to reach radio or television. I said at the beginning that they are least in a worst situation, or maybe better. That depends from the point of view. Because they have less time and less possibility to think deeper. But, on the other hand, they have more expanded target groups, they are able to reach much more people than printed press.

So, the structure is like that: at the top of the story we have the group of scientists, I would say, who work on particular programs and are able to show their particular achievements; then they go or they are invited by journalists from printed press, who are able to translate it in a very, quite understandable way for quite a large group of people but still high educated; and then, on the basis of that, other media could follow.

So, from that point of view, the idea that in this program, which is prepared by Atomium Culture are representatives of printed press, seems to be quite a reasonable one, because it’s the first role of translation, from the top to the much larger group of society. So, I strongly believe it’s possible for us to create such a language, such communication in which the text which are given, or the publication which are prepared by particular universities would be generally understandable and in that way we’ll be able to disseminate the text, the articles to our readership, to our readers, to our public and that this dialogue between these three worlds will be successful. Thank you very much.