Friday, October 12, 2012

I am a newbie at this!

Anyways I am jumping in to share a recent experience. I was at this dialogue cum workshop among scientists and journalists, meeting to communicate effectively. Didn’t have the slightest clue that it was an elephant task for both parties. They had no idea what was required of each other to make science stories perky and fun! No wonder kids these days have little love for the subject.

When you ask if journalists would like to pen a science story exactly when Kate Middleton and her gorgeous blue-eyed hubby are in town, they would rather clamber over each other to cover the royalties!  Why? It is all about what readers want!

Scientists were surprised at how journalists viewed them……boring and full of scientific jargon. But it is not an easy task to simply scientific research. One science writer puts it this way, “if my grandmother understand how you explain a science topic, then, the general public will be able to decipher the topic!”

How do scientists get a hang of it: Practice and sheer perseverance.

It was reality time as a panel of scientists, journalists and science communicators sat down to deliberate on how to report on science, zeroing into agriculture biotechnology. Everyone had fun as the realisation set in. Many began to shed their coyness and share their thoughts. Scientists realised that messages need to be simply and accurately written supported by illustrations and charts. This makes it easier on the media writers.

One suggestion from a senior editor: Create celebrities among scientists. (Hey, then we might have paparazzi going after our scientists. And that would be the day…)

Arising from this workshop will be a document on Best Practices in Communicating Agricultural Biotechnology. It will help both the scientists and journalists on how best to communicate science.

By Christina Stephensons 

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