How to make sense of science videos for institutional communications

Thilo Korkel

Thilo Körkel (Germany)

Thilo Körkel is editor of astronomy and physics at Spektrum der Wissenschaft Verlagsgesellschaft in Heidelberg, a publishing house for popular science magazines and part of SpringerNature. In 2016 he established (, a Spektrum portal for the journalistic curation of popular science web videos. In 2017 he organized a workshop for institutional science communicators who aim to establish a video strategy for their institution. He edited the e-book "Web Video Wissenschaft", published in 2016 (, in which experts give an overview of current developments in the field of popular science videos in German-speaking countries. He was spokesman of a working group, which proposed establishing an international science film and media festival in Germany, with support from a German industry foundation.


Many science communicators feel the need to promote their institutions via webvideo…but this is not necessarily as easy as it seems. Whom should these videos address: the broad public? Narrower target groups like guest scientists, students and reviewers from funding organizations? Are (cheap) interviews preferable to (more expensive) online documentaries or to (funny) white screen animations? And what about communications officer’s usually scarce resources to plan, produce and efficiently distribute video content?

Is there a chance to pursue a sustainable long-term strategy, considering that, typically, video production is a time and budget consuming endeavour – as such under constant threat of being cut back in favour of other communications tasks? There is no single path to success, but it is possible to know and weigh the many factors leading to the success of an institution’s video strategy.

This workshop will present lessons learned from working with experts in the field of science web video: science communicators, journalists and marketers, TV editors, filmmakers, and YouTube professionals, and will draw on the experience of the speaker in curating popular science web videos for the videoportal