The ScienceJMY (Science Journalism Malaysia) email list has grown out of a four-day course devised by the IEA to train scientists, journalists and science communicators alongside each other, building up contacts and trust to support accurate, reliable and relevant science news reporting in Malaysia. It was delivered by an environmental scientist and a journalist from the IEA team – training and development manager Vicky Lucas and marketing and communications manager Sally Stevens.
The course ran in March in Kuala Lumpur with 40 delegates from around Malaysia, including two from the University of Reading Malaysia Campus, with an enthusiastic newsroom-style atmosphere.
It was funded by the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund through a partnership of the British Council, MIGHT (Malaysian Industry-Government Group of High Technology), the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Academy of Sciences Malaysia and the Young Scientists Network Malaysia.
Vicky Lucas says: “The aim was to deliver science communication training to scientists and journalists side-by-side to develop skills and a working relationship that will result in an increase in reliable reporting of science news in Malaysia.
“The ScienceJMY list will support the longer term objective of developing an ongoing network of scientists and journalists who keep in regular contact, leading to a sustainable increase in science reporting, supporting science, technology and innovation in Malaysia.”
Academy of Sciences Malaysia CEO, Hazami Habib, believes the media is an effective platform for public engagement and to popularise science among non-science communities. She says: “To increase science literacy in the country, the public must appreciate science as a part of our daily lives and revolves around everything we do. Journalists play an important role in communicating science, and connecting them with the right experts will give them the confidence to cover more science news.”
Key elements of the course included:
- Forging knowledgeable and reliable contacts for the future
- Creating an ongoing dialogue to facilitate fact-checking and seeking and giving expert opinions
- Giving journalists the confidence to tackle scientific topics
- Giving scientists trusted, established contacts to approach when they have a story
- Raising awareness of the vital role independent, credible and accurate news has to play in telling the story of Climate Change and Sustainability and therefore in tackling these crucial issues.
How to apply to join the ScienceJMY communications list https://www.lists.rdg.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/sciencejmy