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Science Journalism Workshop: Changing the Climate Between Scientists & Journalists

 

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Mar – Science Journalism Workshop, held from 6-8 March, was co-organised by British Council Malaysia, Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), and Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) as the host venue.

This training workshop is a part of a larger Science Communications Programme under the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund (NUOF). NUOF is a joint collaboration initiative between Malaysia and the United Kingdom to promote Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) collaboration between the two countries.

Around 50 scientists and journalists from various universities and media organisations participated in the workshop to discuss on effective ways to report science news in Malaysia.

The training module for the workshop was prepared by Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA), University of Reading, and conducted by Victoria Lucas (Training and Development Manager) and Sally Stevens (Journalist, and Marketing & Communications Manager).

The workshop was a platform for scientists and journalists to learn new skills, share experiences, exchange ideas between them, and build a strong network to communicate science more effectively in the news.

Participants engaged in practical activities that made scientists understand what needs to be reported, and for journalists to communicate the science in an understandable manner.

One of the participants, Dr Nethia Mohana Kumaran from School of Biological Sciences, USM shares about her perception towards journalists before participating the workshop and how it has changed that perception.

“I had the fear that the media would misinterpret scientific findings and affect the reputation of scientists. However, through this workshop, I understand more from a journalist’s perspective on what should be communicated, and now I’m more confident to share science news”, she says. In one of her training sessions, Sally Stevens believes science news in Malaysia is abundant and deserves to be shared daily in the news because science and technology affects daily lives of humans. She recalls how the UK has a Science Media Centre to bridge scientists and journalists for this matter.

“Having a Science Media Centre, such as one in the UK, would help to ensure coverage of science news is accurate, reliable, and accessible to all. Having one in Malaysia would benefit science greatly”, she said.

Akademi Sains Malaysia is at the initial stages of establishing a Science Media Centre in Malaysia to drive more science news reporting from journalists.

Moving forward, input from the workshop and participants will be used to support the establishment and create an initial database of journalists and scientists in the country.

 

 

journalism 1

Participants, comprising scientists and journalists, in a group photo with trainers Sally (front, second from left) and Victoria (front, second from right). Also present were (front, first from left): Dr Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam (Chairman, YSN-ASM), Hazami Habib (CEO, ASM), Ida Semurni Abdullah (Programme Director, Netwon-Ungku Omar Fund).

 

 

journalism 2

Scientists doing activities, such as interviews and press release writing, to get them comfortable to communicate with journalists.

 

journalism 3

Scientists doing activities, such as interviews and press release writing, to get them comfortable to communicate with journalists.

 

journalism 4

Participants presenting infographics to help make understanding science easier.