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Natural hazards questions to be tackled with 2020 EQC Science Journalism Awards

EQC Science Journalism Fund award winners announced today will look at lessons from Christchurch and how the “it won’t happen here” approach influences natural hazard risk planning.

The EQC awards are two of five Science Journalism Fund awards. The aim is to provide journalists with the opportunity for indepth investigation of science-related issues that matter to New Zealanders.

Katie Todd will be investigating why, in spite of tsunami being a known risk for many parts of New Zealand, it is seldom included in local government policy or plans and how the “it won’t happen here” approach can be changed. She will interview both science and policy experts on tsunami and other risks for her indepth report to run on Radio New Zealand early next year.

With heritage buildings being one of the biggest drawcards for tourists to Dunedin, South Island journalist Paul Gorman will be looking at whether Dunedin has taken notice of lessons from Christchurch. Science shows that Dunedin is close to several fault systems capable of generating quakes of MW 7.0 or higher, so the potential impacts cannot be ignored.  Mr Gorman will be interviewing science, civil defence and heritage experts to understand the fault zones that could affect Dunedin and the likely impacts, particularly on heritage buildings.

Dr Jo Horrocks, EQC’s Head of Resilience Strategy and Research, says that journalists play a very important role in bringing science to the wider community in a way that is relevant and easy to understand. 

“One of our key aims is for communities to understand their natural hazard risks and make informed decisions on how to reduce the impacts. Although there is a lot of scientific research, it is not always easy to access outside the science world. Our journalist winners will be able to ask the questions and tell the stories that bring the science closer to everyone in the community,” she says.

Visit sciencejournalismfund.nz for more about the awards.

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