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Science Journalism - Diran Onifade - September 2012
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Science Journalism - Diran Onifade - September 2012


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Presentation by Diran Onifade, Editor in Chief, AfricaSTI …

Presentation by Diran Onifade, Editor in Chief, AfricaSTI
Delivered at the B4FA Media Dialogue Workshop, Ibadan, Nigeria - September 2012

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  • 1. Diran Onifade Science and Agriculture Journalism
  • 2. Breakthrough? • 1987 Zaire MM1 • 1990 Kenya Kemron • 1997 S/Africa Viroden
  • 3. Breakthroughs? Nigeria • Chief Ojefu Odeh, Herbalist • Dr Felix Amanya, Alternative Therapist • Dr Jacob Abdullahi, Medical lab Technologist • Dr Edmund Okworri, Medical Doctor • Jeremiah Abalaka
  • 4. Abalaka • Born 4thDecember 1948 • 1972 medical graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Northern Nigeria • Obtained a post-graduate certificate in immunology from UCH, Ibadan
  • 5. Who failed the public? • Government? • Quacks? • Scientist?
  • 6. Who failed the public? The (unscientific)Media
  • 7. Science and journalism • The scientific method • Scientific Consensus • Good Research Practice • Know the issues
  • 8. WHO WANTS WHAT ? Question Type Outcome • Interrogation Confession • Examination Testing Knowledge • Survey Research • Routine Information • Interview Seeking news
  • 9. Beyond the definition • Reporter interview for: 1.Information (facts and opinions) 2.Sound bites
  • 10. Interviewing a scientist • Scientists’ reactions to journalists • How to get the best from scientists • Building a relationship • How do you write the story for your reader to understand? • Translating science-speak without dumbing down
  • 11. Preparing for Interviews Research The subject The context The interviewee Test your tools
  • 12. The Interview Assume the audience’s place. The old reliable 5 Ws & H. Questions need to be short and clear. Ask one question at a time. No double barrelled questions. Be particular. No wide questions. No cliché questions. Avoid deferential phrases. Don’t apologise for seeking answers. Construct questions skilfully in a way they don’t produce ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Follow up for clarity or for fallouts, genuine new angles and fresh developments emerging from answer. Probe the science. Report the science.
  • 13. Why science? Why agric? • Why does science appeal? • Why should science and agric appeal to readers?
  • 14. How to find a story • Sources of information and inspiration • Is it a story? • What is the story – is it science, economics, society, politics?
  • 15. Sources of information • Where to get your facts and background from – Scientists – Organisations – NGOs – Government – Journals & other publications
  • 16. Who do you trust? • Not all sources are equally valid • Science and “balance” • Research vs opinion • Published work • Where and who by? • Peer review
  • 17. Interviewing a lobbyist • Relationships with lobbyists • How to get the truth from a lobbyist • Investigative interviewing techniques
  • 18. How do scientists react to the media? • What do scientists think of us • What can you do about that • Building the relationship
  • 19. How do journalists react to scientists? • How do you typically react to scientists • What can you do about that • What can scientists do • How can you help them achieve this
  • 20. Selling it to your editor/producer • Why should this be published? • Selling the story to your editor • Freelance Oportunities ScienceAfric Research Africa
  • 21. Thank you