Ringing in the Changes: The Role of Advocacy Journalism in Telling Science Stories
K1) Ringing in the Changes: The Role of Advocacy Journalism in Telling Science Stories
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Can advocacy journalism, which demands close involvement, and science journalism, which requires distance, be bedfellows? Do journalists relinquish their objectivity when advocating on an issue? Is it necessary for science journalists to take an active role in behavior change in today’s world?
The session explores how training, skill development and access to information for journalists and communicators in Africa and other developing regions can lead to improved scientific literacy, quality reporting, behavior change and even impact on government policy.
While policy change may be the ultimate goal of advocacy journalism, and recognizing that it takes time and political will, the journey toward this end is a consistent story-by-story process, advocating for change and making an impact along the way. Journalists’ knowledge, skills and understanding of the issues can affect language at the grassroots level and enable people to advocate for change.
This session brings to the table a range of stimulating experiences in advocacy journalism. The “science café” format of this session is designed for maximum interactivity, with each speaker briefly relating their experiences before inviting the audience to share their knowledge and consider effective ways of increasing scientific literacy in developing countries.
Topics include wildlife trafficking; non-infectious diseases, especially cancer; infectious diseases and vaccines; and treatment issues, including drug patents.
The discussions during the session will be of interest to journalists and communicators, particularly those who struggle to report in resource-poor countries and those interested in using the power of the media to contribute to healthy change in their countries.