Advice to science news writers, and some challenges to consider

February 19, 2009
Tebogo Mohlakane, a science communicator at the National Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa, signing up for SciDev.Net, persuaded by Christina Scott, Africa news editor for SciDev.Net

Tebogo Mohlakane, a science communicator at the National Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa, signing up for SciDev.Net, persuaded by Christina Scott, Africa news editor for SciDev.Net

Thursday 19 February 2009

“Short and fast!” That was the advice from Christina Scott, SciDev.Net’s Africa news editor, to journalists who may want to write news stories on science and development for SciDev.Net.

Christina and I had an opportunity to present the information, services and resources available from SciDev.Net during a session at the 2009 African Science Communication Conference. We are encouraging delegates to sign up and hope to get enough new subscribers so that SciDev.Net will reach the 42,000 mark. Christina told delegates that only 40 new subscribers are needed (and we’re almost there!).

Christina went on to explain that getting published on SciDev.Net is an excellent way of getting known and networking internationally. “It also helps to overcome the isolation of being a science writer in a remote part of the world,” she added.

In a subsequent discussion delegates posed two challenges. David Kramer, CEO of the SciBono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg, wanted to know whether we could do more to eradicate superstition in rural parts of Africa.  Ina van der Linde of the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria asked why SciDev.Net seemed to focus more on natural sciences and whether it would be possible to include more news and opinion about human and social sciences. There was also some discussion about the languages available on SciDev.Net and the challenges of translating science stories into African languages.

Delegates at the session all supported a proposal that South Africa bid to host the next World Conference of Science Journalists (in 2011) in this country.

Marina Joubert, SciDev.Net


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