Training press officers in the developing world ‘key’

Well-trained press officers are key to raising the awareness of regional science across the developing world

Well-trained press officers are key to raising the awareness of regional science across the developing world

Despite their cultural differences, the shared challenges for developing world science journalists were clear in the panel “Getting global coverage for science” held at the World Conference of Science Journalists in London.

“In our countries, it is easier to know what is going on in science in the rest of the world, for example the United States, than in institutions just across the street”, said Egyptian freelance science journalist Nadia El-Awady.

Part of the reason for this lack of regional science awareness is the limitations of press officers in the developing world. Few research institutions and universities have press officers and even when they do, the officers are not adequately prepared for their tasks. Furthermore, many of the press officers are unaware of the importance of their work.

In Nigeria the situation is even more worrying, according to Diran Onifade, a journalist the Nigerian Television Authority, who denounced the regular practice of press officers paying journalists to cover science stories.

“I need to be careful here and I don’t want to offend nobody, but in my country the press officers have became something else; the relationship between press officer and journalist may involve a negotiation”, Onifade said.

The need for carrying out specific training for press officers was considered key both by the panelists and the participants of the session, which was organised by science communication network Stempra.

Luisa Massarani, SciDev.Net.

Comments closed. Read our blogs at www.Scidev.net

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: