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Christina Scott, champion of science journalism across Africa, died this week.

It is with sadness and regret that we have learnt of the untimely death of Christina Scott, a long-standing champion of science journalism across the African continent, and SciDev.Net's Sub-Saharan Africa news editor from 2007 to 2009.

Christina, who died in a car accident in South Africa, was well known for her work as science correspondent for the South African Broadcasting Corporation and, more recently, as host of a widely-followed weekly radio programme, Science Matters.

The title of the latter summed up two of her passionate beliefs: that science has a critical role to play in Africa's development, and that science journalists, through their ability to communicate the importance of science to both policymakers and, in particular, the general public, have an important role in helping this to happen.

Given these twin commitments, it is not surprising that she became one of SciDev.Net’s most enthusiastic contributors – and supporters – soon after we were founded in 2001,contributing news stories from 2003 and later taking on the task of commissioning and editing our news from across the region.

She was a demanding editor, refusing to accept badly-researched articles or rewritten press releases. She was also an inspiration to many. As one of our current contributor's comments show: "She taught me about the existence of science journalism, and how to go about it".

One of Christina's most memorable moments was an address to the final plenary of the World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne, Australia, in 2007, on the topic 'Reporting Science in Emerging Economies'.

As she walked up to the podium, the lights went out, at which point she lit and held up a cigarette lighter. This, she explained to her audience, represented the situation facing many science journalists in the developing world, dealing with frequent power outages, low literacy levels and a lack of government support.

She will be badly missed. And science journalism in Africa will be the poorer.

David Dickson
Editor, SciDev.Net

Click here for articles written by Christina Scott for SciDev.Net