Journalists from the various provinces in Samar Island recently sharpened their writing and broadcasting skills even more by adding science-based dimensions in their reportage.

Particularly, the Samar Island scribes learned how to consider the science behind the factors affecting reading and listening.

First, the scribes were told not to be afraid to ask questions. “Science is all about asking questions, so don’t be afraid to do so, “ said resource person Timothy James Dimacali, science editor of GMA news online. “Scientists are people too.”

Further, since science is already challenging, writing science should simplify complicated concepts.

“Break up a big idea into smaller ideas,” Dimacali advised. “Use an analogy or metaphor to help make it understandable.”

Veteran radio announcer Mario Garcia of PTV-4 also reiterated this even as he advised the journalists to “talk simple, write simple; simplify anything complicated; and explain terminologies clearly.”

In the event of disasters, Garcia advised broadcasters, “Don’t say ‘don’t panic’ because people will panic even more.”

Moreover, Dimacali advised the journalists that a good science story doesn’t necessarily have to answer a question.

“Science doesn’t have all the answers, which is why scientists always ask questions about the world,” he said. “You can make readers question their own beliefs, or help them form questions of their own about the things around them.”

Meanwhile, Garcia, reminded the journalists that, ”your stories should inspire”in addition to the usual functions of journalism which are to inform, educate, and entertain.

To reinforce the advice and pointers they learned from the resource persons, the participants prepared a broadcast scenarios simulating a disaster event. Garcia later shared his observations on how the participants can further improve their way of reporting a 7.9-magnitude earthquake without causing panic while maintaining truthfulness in their facts. 

Dr. Aristotle P. Carandang, division chief of the Department of Science and Technology’s Science and Technology Information Institute, also advised the journalists that in cases of disasters, broadcasters should always advise their listeners on what they should do to prevent harm and casualty. “This is the science behind responsible reporting of disasters,” he said.

Participants in the online reporting writeshop also got vital pointers from Dimacalion how to sharpen their articles.

“We have already learned some of these things in college but it’s nice to have a fresh perspective again,” said Ninfa B. Quirante of the Philippine Information Agency-Samar.

DOST-STII organizes science journalism writeshops to help communication students and professionals improve their writing and broadcasting skills and encourage them to specialize in science communication. Partnering with DOST in this seminar are the local government of Calbayog City, Calbayog Tourism Office, DYOG-Radyong Bayan, and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines. #DOSTPh #sciencejournalism #sciencenation #dost_stii

Veteran broadcaster Mario Garcia of PTV-4 held Samar Island journalists breathless as he shared his experiences in broadcasting, He advised the participants to add science dimension in their articles but explain the concepts briefly and in the way it is best understood. (Photo by Allan Mauro V. Marfal, S&T Media Service)

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