Renata Dacinger among the top science journalists in Europe

RTV Slovenia journalist Renata Dacinger has been awarded the first prize in the TV/video category at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne in Switzerland. The awards are conferred by the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) at the proposal of the Balkan Network of Science Journalists.

Renata Dacinger. Photo: Personal archives

Renata Dacinger is the presenter of the educational TV programme Ugriznimo znanost (Let’s Bite into Science) on TV Slovenija 1. The international committee of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) was particularly impressed by her creativity and attention to detail. The fact that she is not only the presenter, but also the editor and the writer of the programme and that she chooses the guests and topics herself also did not go unnoticed.

“Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become a scientist. Even today, I sometimes regret my career path when I look at the interesting and exciting work of scientists and when I report about their achievements. However, after receiving this award, I am thrilled that I work as a science journalist. It seems that my work is still close to what I enjoyed in childhood,” said Dacinger. “I am happy about the award, which is a recognition of my work. However, this award is not only mine: it belongs to all my colleagues and the entire crew, because one person alone cannot do anything on TV,” she added.

Let’s Bite into Science

Photo: Personal archives

The first Ugriznimo znanost (Let’s Bite into Science) was aired on 6 April 2010. Renata Dacinger and the director Aleš Žemlja came up with the concept and the title of the programme, which has reported on the most important scientific discoveries and achievements in Slovenia and worldwide. The programme has shown the first real human heart grown in a laboratory, presented how, with the help of science, hair can be used to discover where people lived in the past, explained why it would be good to eat insects and even jellyfish, and the first Slovenian 3D-printed house.

Renata Dacinger’s love of science started in childhood: “Yes, even as a child I was interested in mathematics, chemistry, physics and so on. I often spent my afternoons with my father, who was always making or repairing something, and I was fascinated by taking things apart and putting them back together. I was just curious about how things worked. I also enjoyed making things, whether on my own or with my father: a slingshot, a bow or whatever. But my first independent project, which I took on sometime around the first year of primary school, suffered an inglorious fate. I saw a sundial on a nearby castle and made a plan to construct a similar dial in our garden. I wanted to make a sharp tip on a stick and found a very sharp knife, which, of course, I would not have been allowed to even touch. Anyway, I made a deep cut in my finger and that was the end of the project! Instead of a sundial, I was left with a scar that is still visible today.”

Despite this, Renata did not decide to study mathematics, which she is still enthusiastic about, but rather opted for journalism: “I guess I studied journalism because I could write well,” she laughs, “I thought that journalism was a more dynamic profession and that if I studied mathematics, I would have a boring job. I have to admit, I was also afraid that the study would be too demanding!”

She started working on national television during her studies. She started out at the culture desk, but soon realised that this was not for her and so moved to the educational programme. She ended up in science by coincidence and she was immediately drawn to it.

Text by: Vesna Žarkovič