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Science Agenda: Contextualising Science Communications in our environment Thulani Cele PREAMBLE The purpose of this presentation is to talkshop the challenges and implementable strategies Defining Mass Media

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The purpose of this presentation is to talkshop the challenges and implementable strategies

defining mass media
Defining Mass Media

Mass Media is a broad spectrum of radio and television broadcast stations and networks, newspapers, magazines, and outdoor displays designed to appeal to the general public (Business Dictionary:

why mass media
Why Mass Media

Media has the ability to greatly impact an audience’s attention and receptivity to health and population-related messages

It is from this premise that mass media is perceived as a powerful tool to information dissemination, public influence, and public education.

The role of mass media is crucial to update public about the activities that Africa Centre is conducting in the area, influence policy making from the law makers, and assess the reception of the services.

mass media engagement strategy
Mass Media Engagement Strategy

Through the past eleven years, Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies has been continually engaging mass media into its activities. This has been done through:

  • media conferences;
  • media partnerships;
  • live TV broadcasting;
  • Issuing media releases;
  • podcast, videography, and blog site;
  • dissemination of findings to media, and
  • continually updating media of AC activities.
mass media strategy media conference
Mass Media Strategy:Media Conference
  • Engaging media by the form of conferences.
  • This model has shown growth both inside media knowledge of research agenda and the correct interpretation of scientific terminologies.
mass media strategy media partnership
Mass Media Strategy: Media Partnership
  • Media Partnership strategy – a successful model to engage media in communicating science.
mass media strategy live tv broadcasting
Mass Media Strategy:Live TV Broadcasting

Live Broadcasting on science agenda is one of the potential engagement strategy that will create link between science and public.

mass media strategy issuing media releases
Mass Media Strategy:Issuing Media Releases

Out of 10 science-related media releases 2 of them are getting published.

A revisit on way we communicate our media release is highly important.

mass media strategy videography
Mass Media Strategy:Videography

Videography: This media is very important to show the visual effect of the science activities.

Podcast media: Bringing activities closer to the public.

live streaming: Let the public see what science is.

Blog site: Interactive media tool to engage public.

mass media strategy dissemination of findings to media
Mass Media Strategy:Dissemination of Findings to Media
  • Africa Centre has its newsletter that is published in English and then translated into Zulu for the benefit of our clients who are made up of Zulu speaking people.
  • The translation is also done for Zulu media in order to ensure that scientific language is accurate and used correctly.
mass media strategy continual update of media
Mass Media Strategy:Continual Update of Media
  • Africa Centre updates public about its activities every year end.
  • This is done through Umbiko Newsletter, feature articles and World AIDS Day message that is distributed around different media.
challenges in engaging mass media
Challenges in engaging Mass Media

Translation of scientific language is still a challenge.

Getting interest of mass media, especially commercial media, to write about health and population-related issues is also a challenge.

Most importantly, lack of budgeting for mass media activities from the research institutions is driving the situation worse.

Understanding the role of mass media in research institutions as a tool to link the scientific activities with public is an issue that still need to be addressed.


Understanding of how to engage media and communication at a science research institution.

How to effectively strategize media and communication engagement, implementation, monitoring and continually updating the plan to meet the public interest needs to be redressed.

Almost 90% of more that 300 media organizations in South Africa is publishing less than 3% of science-related articles in their publication content. One can view this as an act of deviating from what media should be – public eye in social, economic, political, and scientific issues. This motive behind less coverage of science-related articles is perhaps perpetuated by the drive of commercial media to generate revenues on sellable articles (i.e. politics, war or sport) or lack of human capacity to write interestingly about science and research.

Nevertheless, there is still a challenge for media and communication practitioners in research agenda to convince public and private media of a critical role that they can play to bring changes into the public by disseminating scientific research information and start writing proactively on issues of health and population.

If people are continually dying from issues that health and population research are scrutinizing or have further knowledge to prevent or eliminate the death rate, who is to be accused… or scientific research institutions?