New trends in training science journalists in africa
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NEW TRENDS IN TRAINING SCIENCE JOURNALISTS IN AFRICA. Gervais MBARGA, Ph.D. Professor, Science Journalism, Univeristy of Yaoundé 2, Cameroon. Research Associate, Chair in Science Journalism, Université Laval, Québec, Canada . Regional Coordinator SjCOOP, Francophone Africa Region.

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NEW TRENDS IN TRAINING SCIENCE JOURNALISTS IN AFRICA

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NEW TRENDS IN TRAINING SCIENCE JOURNALISTS IN AFRICA

Gervais MBARGA, Ph.D.

Professor, Science Journalism, Univeristy of Yaoundé 2, Cameroon.

Research Associate, Chair in Science Journalism, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.

Regional Coordinator SjCOOP, Francophone Africa Region.

Johannesburg, 19 Feb, 2009


SRUCTURE OF THE EXPOSÉ

  • 1- CLASSICAL APPROACHES OF TRAINING S.J.

  • 2- THE SJCOOP METHOD AND TOOLS

  • 3-THE SjCOOP ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 4- LESSONS WE LEARNED.


THE PROBLEM

Science journalists in african countries are:

  • Very few

  • Isolated

  • Unsupported

  • Lack training


THE PROBLEM

Science Journalists face:

  • Populations with questions:

    • Health, Environment,

    • Mastering the nature, Poverty

  • Scientists with answers

    • Locally

    • Worldwide

  • Growing influence of media

    • In quantity

    • In quality


CLASSICAL SOLUTIONS

  • Formal training in universities

  • Seminars

  • Workshops

  • Scholarships

  • Awards

  • Informal training

    • High Loss Rates: 70 to 90% do not continue as Science Reporter after 3 to 9 months


TRAINING IN UNIVERSITIES OR HIGH SCHOOLSLOSS RATES


WORKSHOPS LOSS RATES


THE SjCOOP PROJECT

  • SjCOOP: Science Journalists in Cooperation

  • A WFSJ MENTORING PROJECT.

  • FUNDED BY: IDRC, DfID, SIDA


THE SjCOOP CONCEPT

  • The vision: equip a critical mass of journalistswithskills; givesuitablespace to S&T in media; public in Africa and ME recognizes S&T as a mean to help solvingtheirproblems.

  • The mission: with the support of donors, build a network of SJ in Africa and ME connected to worldwidecommunity of SJ.


THE SjCOOP ORGANISATION

60 MENTEES FROM 32 COUNTRIES

15 MENTORS

Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, France,

Germany (2), Lebanon, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, UK, US

3 Regional Coordinators

Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria

Evaluator

Germany

Website Moderator

Nigeria

SjCOOP MANAGEMENT

Canada


THE SjCOOP OBJECTIVES

  • 1. Panafrican and panarabic initiative

  • 2. Increase quantity an quality of SJ

  • 3. Break Isolation

  • 4. Train In Situ With Advanced Tools


SjCOOP TOOLS THE WE WEBSITE


SjCOOP TOOLSONLINE COURSE: ENGLISH, FRENCH AND ARABIC


SjCOOP TOOLS FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS

  • CREATING LINKS, NETWORK, AND HUMAN CONTACTS

  • Nairobi (2006), Doha (2008)


SjCOOP APPROACHIN SITU TRAINING

  • Trainees remain in their Environment, with their Colleagues, their Editors, with local Scientists, Policymakers, Decision Makers, with their public...

  • WE REACHED 60 NEWSROOMS AT THE BEGENNING, 46 NOW.


ACHIEVEMENTSQUALITY AND QUANTITY : 29 COUNTRIES, 46 SJ


ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Creating SJ Associations

    • 10 Associations are created in Africa.

    • Associations became member of the WFSJ

  • Associations are functionning

    • Arabic, Fes (October, 2008)

    • Nigeria (November, 2008)

    • Uganda (November, 2008)

    • Kenya (November, 2008)

    • Rwanda (October, 2008)


ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Linked SJ to SJ and Scientists Worldwide

    • 6 Associations are twinned with Associations in developed countries

  • We built a Network of S.J. on a panafrican and arabic basis


ACHIEVEMENTS TRANSBORDER STORIES

  • REPORTS ON A PROBLEM WRITTEN BY SJ FROM 2 COUNTRIES AND MORE: VACCINE, WATER, ENERGY, CLINICAL TRIALS, ETC

  • MORE THAN 20 PAPERS IN NEWSPAPERS


Onche Odeh, Micheal Simire, Mabutho Ngcobo and Otula OwuorSubject: Energy


Aimable Twahirwa Charles Mkoka and Christina ScottMail & Guardian, South AfricaSubject: Chemicals


Christophe MvondoSubject: Water


Jerôme BigirimanaSubject: vaccine


ACHIEVEMENTS

  • We established contacts with

    • Editors

    • Scientists

    • Academies

      • The African Science Academy has invited us in Accra for its conference next year (2009)

  • 4 Mentees created new science beats

  • 1 Mentor started a new science magazine

    • Otula Owuor, Kenya

  • 8 mentees promoted head of science desks


ACHIEVEMENTS

  • We evaluated the programme on a daily basis and corrected problems when needed.

    • The use of the method of «Outcome Mapping» was helpful. This a participatory and learning oriented framework.


LESSONS LEARNEDABOUT TRAINING

  • Science Journalist capacity bulding is needed in Africa and ME.

  • Loss Rates can be reduced with in situ training and mentoring

    • 60 SJ at the beginning;

    • 46 now in their newsrooms .

      Loss Rate: 30%, compare to 70-90% in Classical Approaches Ex Situ Training.


LESSONS LEARNEDABOUT TRAINING

  • Trainers from developed countries are not necessarily better than trainers from developing countries.

  • Trainees have to be selected rigorously.

  • Combination of tools (mentoring, face-to-face meeting, field activities, online lesson, Skype and web-communication) really helps mentees.


LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT SCIENCE JOURNALISTS POSITION

  • Science Journalists can collaborate: Deborah Blum with help of Oxford Publishing is writing a book on global climate change. The book will include original reportings from our mentees. This is an example of international collaboration

  • Isolation can be broken and digital divide be reduced

    - 2006 no one could held a discussion forum, a skypechat or a skypecast.

    - 2008: nearly everybody has a skype acount and can hold a discussion forum a skypecast or a skypechat.


LESSONS LEARNEDABOUT SCIENCE JOURNALIST POSITION

  • Well chosen editors representing key media could become strategic partners of training programmes.

  • Scientists or Academies in developing world are key partners of Science Journalism.

  • Science Associations can help establishing national and transnational relationships.


LESSONS LEARNEDFROM A GLOBAL POINT OF VIEW

  • Transborder stories can have a big effect.

    • It’s a «massive» production of articles on a subject

  • Science Journalists can influence policymakers and decision makers.


LESSONS LEARNEDFROM A GLOBAL POINT OF VIEW

  • Influencing policies and government decisions

    • Examples

  • Allocation of funds to fix Lake Nyos (Cameroon)

  • Installation of filtering system on a cement plant (Jordan)

  • Setting up technical committee on Lake Nyos (Nigeria)

  • Speeding up of water treatment in Baghdad (Iraq)

  • Attacking societal taboos concerning children born with deformities (Côte d’Ivoire)

  • Firing of corrupted AIDS drugs distribution official (Uganda)


LESSONS LEARNEDFROM A GLOBAL POINT OF VIEW

  • The evaluation of activities should start at the onset of the programme.

  • Panafrican or panarabic capacity building projects can work.

    • With the network we built, we see people in science and in media willing to work with us.


FINAL OBSERVATIONS

  • More efforts should be put into studying Science Journalism and Science communication in Africa (and developing countries):

    • Science Journalists (Who? Where?What? Influence?)

    • The public of Science (Portraits, Needs, Interests, Influence on Science and on Science Journalism)

    • The media of Science (Public, Stories, Writing skills)


THANK YOU

SjCOOP (Science journalists in Cooperation)

– peer-to-peer mentoring project

for science journalists in Africa and the Middle East


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