Florencia Ballarino

florencia ballarino

Subeditor of Diaro Perfil, Buenos Aires, Argentina

When did you become interested in pursuing science journalism?

I’ve always been very curious. Since I was a girl, I liked to read about science. But when it came time to choose what to study, I opted for literature and journalism. My parents come from science, so I wanted to stand apart. However, soon after I started my studies, I realized that I liked communication related to science and medicine. It was a language I had grown up in and it was very accessible to me.

Do you have a particular field of interest?

I am particularly interested in medicine and scientific advances in this field. I believe that health is one of the topics that most attracts the general public — just take a look at the top Google searches. Most people receive health information through the media. Therefore, as journalists, it is very important to provide in-depth, accurate, and valued news that will help readers make decisions that could improve their health.

Which of your stories has made the biggest impact?

Sometimes news that we consider unimportant can actually make a big impact. I remember one such case: drawing attention to the increase in cases of congenital syphilis in Argentina. This perinatal infection can be prevented with a simple test for the mother before giving birth. Most people think that syphilis is a disease of the past, but it's not. At that time, I received an email from a mother who, after reading my article, had asked her doctor to take the syphilis and HIV test. Months after publication, the article received a prize from the Pan American Health Organization.

What is the biggest challenge facing science journalism?

The main challenge is to build bridges between the scientific community and society. There is no way a country progresses if it is not through scientific and technological research. Citizens have to know and share this. In that context, scientific journalism plays a fundamental role: scientific information as a tool for a democratic society.

Another challenge is to avoid succumbing to the immediacy of the news by sacrificing scientific rigor and truthfulness of information.

How do you perceive your role as a journalist?

The role of the scientific journalist is not only to transmit knowledge or report on the latest finding. Today the challenge is to develop readers’ critical and reflective conscience. Faced with such an avalanche of information, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity to select quality news, which will help readers make good decisions based on evidence. This is why it’s important to have specialized journalists.