Communication students and campus journalists of various campuses of Batangas State University (BatSU) learned something new beyond the basic 5 Ws and 1 H of news writing. In a recent writing workshop conductedby the Department of Science and Technology’s Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII), resource persons introduced to participants a sixth question to be answeredin science- or technology related article, and it does not begin with the letters “w” or “h.”
Journalism basics ask “who,”“what,”“when,”“where,” and “how”, also known as “5 Ws and 1 H.” In said workshop, students learned the importance of asking another question-- the “so what” of a story and elaborating its answer in their articles.
Speaking about science communication practice in print and environment communication, award-winning freelance science writer Ruby Shaira F. Panela told participants that while the 5 Ws and the “how” shape the article, the “so what” question helps make the article relevant to the lives of ordinary Filipinos. This is the article’s value added element, said Panela at the workshop titled “Bridging Science to the People: Exploring Opportunities through Science Communication.”
For feature articles, Panela encouraged the students, who will be the Philippines’ future journalists, to put a human face or human interest angle to their stories by including case studies. Readers will identify themselves with the character in the case study, she said, and feel the significance of the story in their personal lives.
As BatSU President Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo said in his message, “For Juan and Juana to understand science, it should be communicated in the language of Juan and Juana.”
Ronquillo lamented Filipinos’ weak interest in S&T news and encouraged local science journalists to communicate S&T well to grab the attention and interest of more Filipinos, including those who are uneducated.
Meanwhile, Timothy James M. Dimacali, science fiction author and S&T editor of GMA News Onlinesaid, “If you have the basic journalistic skills, these are the same skills you should have as a science reporter.” Dimacalidiscussed science communication practice in digital media and disaster preparedness communication.
Moreover, Panela said that science reporters should also be able to translate jargon.
She added that science reporting should be a regular thing in the country “whether for the front page or the inside page” instead of being resorted into only during typhoons.
Meanwhile, Dr. Aristotle P. Carandang, communication resources and production division chief of DOST-STII and vice-president of the Philippine Science Journalists Association, said that TV remains the most popular medium. “So whatever gaps there are in science communication, these should be filled by science journalists,” said Dr. Carandang who tackled health communication during the workshop.
AGHAM PartylistRep. and veteran radio broadcaster Angelo B. Palmones also gave a talk on science communication in radio.
Held from January 19-20, 2016, the workshop introduced the students to science journalism which deals with science and technology (S&T) related issues in various fields like agriculture, medicine, industry, education, disaster preparedness, and others. S&T is regarded across the global village as a springboard to economic development, requiring effective and timely dissemination of information by print, broadcast, and online journalists.
(From left)DOST-STII Communication Resources and Production Division Chief Dr. Aristotle P. Carandang;AGHAM Partylist Rep. and veteran radio broadcaster Angelo B. Palmones; GMA News Online S&T Editor Timothy James M. Dimacali; and freelance science writer Ruby Shaira F. Panelaanswer queries from participants during the open forum of the seminar-workshop at the Batangas State University.
A student-participant asks a question during the open forum. (Photos by Gerardo Palad, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)