Support for Science Journalists in Asia

Project Outline
This project aims to contribute to the development of science journalism in Asia by capacity building of Asian science journalists through support for the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) based in Montreal, Canada, which has developed a sustainable training system for science journalists.
Project Activity
Implementing Agency World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ)(Canada) Year Implementation year(3/3)
Project Type Self OperatedGrantCommissionedOther Year project budget implementation 12,800,000yen
Science Journalists participated in training in Seoul and Fukuoka
From 8 June to 13 June, 2015, training sessions focused on data journalism were held in Seoul City, South Korea and Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Ten journalists from Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated as trainees to learn concepts of data journalism and practical techniques and methodology. The trainees were introduced to ways to analyze various types of data by experts from US and Japan. With assistance of the experts, they also learnt ways to visualize the data analysis by making hazard maps and tables of obesity and malnutrition comparisons.

アジア科学ジャーナリストHP用①.pngのサムネイル画像アジア科学ジャーナリストHP用②.pngのサムネイル画像The training sessions in Seoul were held at the same time of the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ). The trainees actively participated not only the training of this project but also other sessions and events hosted by WCSJ. They were, therefore, able to deepen understanding of science journalism and network with journalists and science communicators from around the world.

アジア科学ジャーナリストHP用③.pngのサムネイル画像After the training in Seoul, the trainees went to Fukuoka Prefecture to participate in a study tour organized by Japanese Association of Science and Technology Journalists (JASTJ). The tour provided the participants opportunities to cover the prefecture's efforts for development and promotion of hydrogen energy use. For this purpose, they visited places such as Next-Generation Fuel Cell Research Center (NEXT-FC) and Hydrogen Energy Test and Research Center (HyTReC). They were also able to have better understanding of technologies and history of Japanese energy reform by visiting Miike coal mining sites and Miike port that were important sites for Japanese industries from Meiji to Showa eras.


Indonesian Science Journalists’ Conference held in Bogor, Indonesia

On 29 and 30 August 2015, a conference marking the establishment of the Society of Indonesian Science Journalists (SISJ) was held in Bogor, Indonesia. SISJ is the first organisation for science journalists in Indonesia, and those who have participated in the project "Support for Science Journalists in Asia" are its core members. About 50 journalists, of many are early on in their careers, and about 30 scientists attended the conference.


Workshops on theories and techniques of science journalism, which the core members of SISJ learnt in the training programs held in Tokyo and Seoul, were programed for the conference. Lectures on the latest scientific research and related policies in Indonesia were also delivered by organizations such as the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Indonesian Academy of Science.


Two representatives of Japanese Association of Science and Technology Journalists (JASTJ) also attended the conference and gave a lecture on controversy of science journalism in Japan showing cases of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and public concerns over endocrine disrupting chemicals. They also shared their experience as a national level organization for science journalists by introducing overview of JASTJ including its history, activities and governance with the Indonesian counterparts. JASTJ and SISJ exchanged their opinions towards achieving their autonomy and sustainability for continuous activities.


Conference of Science Journalists held in Hanoi, Vietnam

On 25 and 26 September, a conference of science journalists was held at Vietnam Journalists Association Training Center (VJATC) in Hanoi. Participants of the conference were journalists who took part in training sessions held in Fukushima, Fukuoka and Seoul within the “Support for Asian Science Journalists” project as well as about 40 other Vietnamese journalists based in Hanoi.

The main aims of this conference were 1) to share outcomes of “Support for Asian Science Journalists” project with local journalists, 2) to learn and utilize lessons of Japanese Association of Science and Technology Journalists (JASTJ) for the future establishment of an association for Vietnamese science journalists, and 3) to develop new skills and knowledge useful for science reporting.

Please click here for the conference program.

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Over the last three years, this project provided various training programs to Asian science journalists. The mentors’ (senior journalists) training was held in Tokyo and Fukushima in 2013 and the mentees’ (junior journalists) training in Tokyo and Fukushima in 2014. Earlier this year, the follow-up training was held in Seoul, South Korea and Fukuoka. At the conference in Hanoi, participants of the project shared knowledge and skills they had gain with other Vietnamese journalists who were not able to participate in the previous programs.

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Ms. Mariko Takahashi and Mr. Hajime Hikino of JASTJ attended the conference and presented the important impacts of science journalism introducing the case of coverage on Fukushima nuclear disaster. She also shared the experience of JASTJ during the last 20 years since its establishment with the attendees to provide them some ideas how a journalists’ association can operate independently and sustainably. Mr. Hikino also explained techniques for securing funds for associations to be sustainable by showing some cases of JASTJ’s experience.

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As science journalists are required to have some scientific knowledge, a doctor of Ho Chi Min City Children’s Hospital No.1 was invited to the conference and gave a lecture on avian flu and its pandemic. The doctor explained that avian flu is still transmitted more easily in provincial cities, and informed the audience of its characteristic symptoms and measures for prevention and treatment.

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