As part of this year’s celebration of National Science and Technology Week (NSTW), the Department of Science and Technology’s Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) conducted a writeshop for campus science journalists and mass communications students to mold a new breed of science communicators in the Philippines.
“The Art in Science Journalism Writeshop,” held last July 25, 2015 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, gathered communications students, campus paper journalists, and professors from different educational institutions, mostly in Luzon.
It covered print and online journalism with focus on disaster preparedness information. Participants were given the chance to engage in writing exercises involving typhoon and earthquake bulletins, and be critiqued by professionals in the industry. They were GMA News Online SciTech Editor Timothy James Dimacali and Philippine Star’s Helen Flores.
“We are aware that many science journalists do not have degrees in the scientific disciplines they cover,” said DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund E. Liboro in his opening message. “Regardless of background, though, it is always good practice for all science journalists to formulate and answer deceptively simple questions such as ‘What does this mean to Mang Juan and Aling Nena?,’ because they can go a long way in developing useful material for their respective readers.”
According to Dimacali, the solution is “to use an analogy or metaphor to help make it understandable.”
Meanwhile, Flores, who has been covering DOST’s PAGASA for almost a decade, said that science journalism has already evolved in recent years.
“In the past, they just mentioned LPA, thunderstorm, and storm surge in their reports,” she said in her presentation. “Now, they explain specifically what it means and how it will affect the life of the readers.”
Flores added that this has resulted to a scenario wherein even young children can understand what an LPA or thunderstorm are and their possible hazards.
DZRH radio anchor and Philippine Science Journalists Association President Angelo B. Palmones gave an overview of science journalism before the start of the talks and the writeshop proper.
“If S & T consciousness could reach the grassroots, the process of development could be achieved. That is the role of science journalists,” said Palmones.
The writeshop was attended by approximately 230 students and advisers from about 28 schools around Metro Manila and neighboring regions. (S&T Media Service)
DZRH radio anchor and Philippine Science Journalists Association President Angelo B. Palmones speaks to student participants of the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute’s (DOST-STII) writeshop for science journalists during DOST’s recent National Science and Technology Week at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.