Science and the Media: Programme

IAP Programmes

Science and the Media: Programme

Science and the Media: A workshop for young practitioners
Tobago, 26-28 February 2002

To view the final list of participants, click here.

The workshop will fall into three sessions:
Day 1: General exploration of the experience of science communication in different countries.

Day 2: Practical exercises in science communication, with a collective reflection on lessons learnt.

Day 3: Discussion of science communication needs and potential initiatives to address them.

February 26:

1. Introduction to Tobago
2. Introduction to meeting
3. Science and the Media: An overview
a. Developed countries: Boyce Rensberger (MIT)
b. Developing countries: Lisbeth Fog (Colombia)

5. Discussion

Lunch break

6. Communicating science: Case histories, best practice, and the barriers to it
a. Developed countries: Susan Turner Lowe (US National Academy of Sciences)
b. Developing countries (1): Inyang Ekanem (Administrative Secretary, Nigerian Academy of Sciences)
c. Developing countries (2): Rongping Mu (Chinese Academy of Sciences)

7. Discussion
8. Science journalism: Good practice and the barriers to it
a. Developed countries: David Dickson (Director SciDev.Net)
b. Developing countries (1): Valeria Romain (Clarin, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
c. Developing countries (2): Pallava Bagla (The India Express, New Delhi)

KEYNOTE SPEECH (2): Science and society in Latin America

8.00 p.m. KEYNOTE SPEECH (1): Science and the Media: AIDS in South Africa William Makgoba, Secretary, Medical Research council of South Africa (cancelled)

February 27

9. Presentation on practical issues of preparing materials for the press and meeting the needs of journalists.
Natasha Martineau (Director Copus, London)
Danny Schaffer (Third World Academy of Sciences, Trieste)

10. The rest of the day will be taken up with practical exercise. Conference organizers will provide a hypothetical scenario that will require the three groups present - scientists, public information officers and science journalists - to respond. The activity will provide opportunities for participants to exercise their respective crafts, knowledge and their public communication skills.
As part of the activity, scientists and public information officers may be called upon to prepare information and opinions, growing out of the hypothetical scenario, for release to the public. Journalists may conduct interviews and prepare articles or broadcasts dealing with information from the scientists and perhaps from NGO activists.
11. At various points in the unfolding scenario, workshop participants will be asked to step out of character and discuss their thinking and their actions. All participants will be free to present their opinions of how well various steps were handled as well as to suggest areas for improvement

Evening: KEYNOTE SPEECH (3): Science, communication and the academies
Sherwood Rowland, Foreign Secretary, US National Academy of Sciences

Day 3

12. Reports from three rapporteurs on the lessons to be learnt from the previous day's practical exercises (one rapporteur representing each of the three professional groups present).

13. Separation into work groups to discuss proposals for possible international initiatives. The selection of topics for these working groups will emerge in the light of the conclusions reached on Day 1 and Day 2. Possible topics:

a. What practical guides or resources would be useful for science journalists in developing countries? If so, who should be responsible for drawing up these guides or collecting and making available these resources?

b. What practical guides or resources would be useful for science communicators in developing countries? If so, who should provide it?

c. Is there a need to devise procedures for sharing experience and sources? For example, the creation of an international e-mail listserve? If so, who should set this in motion?

d. How do we capitalise on the lessons from recent regional initiatives (India/Africa/Latin America)

12.00 Final plenary session and close of conference