Arm journalists with science reporting skills

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We are much touched by the renewed interest directed at improving quality reporting on science, technology and innovation (STI) in the sub-region by ECOWAS.

At a three-day training course for West African journalists held recently in Nigeria, to  improve quality reporting on science, technology and innovation in the sub-region, the relevance of the media was highly showcased, as it plays a critical role in publicizing and promoting scientific innovations, which is why western countries are developing rapidly.

In Africa, science reporting or journalism is not given much support or training, which reflects negatively on the growth and improvement of scientific innovations on the continent.

There are a lot of scientific innovations lying in laboratories, because the scientists find it difficult to communicate to the media, and the media in turn finds it difficult to fully explain these innovations to the citizens,” African Union senior scientific officer  Dr Kyari Mohammed has said.

This concern raised by the AU senior scientific officer is indeed realistic, to a large extent, but it is mainly because journalists are not given adequate training and other support to arm themselves with the knowledge and skills of reporting fruitfully scientific innovations by scientists on the African continent.   

Strong emphasis on efforts to improve the quality of journalistic reporting on science, technology and innovation is, therefore, crucial in this circumstance.

Although the African Association of Science and Technology Journalists has been established, African journalists, especially those in West Africa, are not really adequately trained on reporting STI.

We must, therefore, focus on and give strong support to improving the professional capacity of journalists on STI.

African countries need to improve, and science plays a crucial role in that development process, hence much support is needed to realise this objective.

ECOWAS has, therefore, taken a sound step to train West African journalists to be able to produce quality reports on science, technology and innovation in the sub-region.

This should be maintained and sustained in trying to achieve a prosperous Africa.

“Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.”

Ann Voskamp