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For many people, if they are not reviewing literature for a research project or gathering data to complete school work, science articles published in journals will ordinarily not make it to their to-read-list. The jargons, the calculations, graphs and the diagrams put many people off.

Most mass media organisations, because of the stereotypical view that science news is boring, do not perceive science as a beat worth giving maximum coverage. This is one of the things I learned while doing news contents analyses at the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism. Politics, sport, business, fashion and celebrity news typically make up the contents of most news platforms.


I came across the Script Science Communication Skills for Journalists course by chance. After taking the course and doing further research, I discovered that science news can be told in a way that captivates the attention of the readers, inspires change and triggers readers to go beyond asking peripheral questions to asking probing, fact-based questions to leaders and policymakers.

Every module that makes up the course offered something new to learn. After taking the course, I realised that I had not wasted my time and that I had been empowered for life.

While I believe that Africa needs more science researchers, I am certain that the few researchers we have are doing great things all over the world. All over Africa, we have numerous research institutes that make newsworthy scientific discoveries and technological innovations that if given proper coverage, will give media organisations the 'high hits’ or ‘huge number of views’ they expect news content to generate.

The stereotypical views of many media organisations that science news content does not deserve dedicated sections on their websites or their broadcast programme is regressive. People want fresh content. Beyond politics, sports, fashion and others, science news, if well presented, can give variety and freshness of content.

The Script course I took exposed me to unlimited opportunities that exist in science journalism. As a researcher with a published journal article, I appreciate the valuable purpose science plays. The mentorship by Radio Nigeria in partnership with SciDev.Net is an opportunity I cherish. I am open to opportunities to work with media organisations and science research institutes who want to explore the potentials of science news contents.

By bringing news about technological innovations and scientific discoveries in an interesting-to-read and easy-to-understand format, science news will prove to policy makers and leaders, that the solutions to most of the challenges confronting Africa exist.

Adeola Oladipupo is a Nigerian science journalist

References

Communication course for journalists