WFSJ membership grows to 45 with newest member the Balkan Association of Science Journalists
The Balkan Association of Science Journalists (BASJ) recently joined the World Federation of Science Journalists, becoming its 45th proud member.
BASJ was founded in June 2012, at a regional training course in Tirana, Albania. The founders of the association are 12 science journalists, from the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe (Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Serbia). BASJ is since recently a formally registered organisation, with the general secretariat located in Novi Sad, and the presidency situated in Zrenjanin, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, northern Serbia. In May 2013, BASJ expanded its network of science journalists to Turkey.
The following was written by the BASJ as an introduction to their activities:
The BASJ finished its first study. The results of the research support the fact that there is a general lack of science journalists and science media in the Balkan region. The first important conclusion of our research is that in this region, science journalists are in need of additional education and training, particularly in the area of research methodology and reporting on science topics.
Secondly, science journalists are not well paid to deal with science topics exclusively. The Balkan media in general, is in survival mode, especially in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Moldova and other countries in transition. The problem of financing quality science reporting has a very severe effect on science journalism in the region. The financial support being very weak, real scientific research on science topics is almost nonexistent.
Science news are mostly rewritten from international media and published more as PR news, largely covering only tech-news, reports about exclusive innovations, but without comprehensive research.
The standpoint of the Balkan Association of Science Journalists is that the general state of science journalism in the region has to do with the overriding poor funding of science and scientists, experts, and researchers from different fields of science.
Given that government institutions are allocating minimum funding for scientific centers, research institutes, faculties, most of the scientists, experts and other valuable intellectual elite are forced to exercise their knowledge and skills, in more developed countries in Europe and elsewhere in the World. This is particularly important because the lack of financial support in the last 20 years caused a large-scale emigration of young scientists, a so called brain-drain.
On the other hand, science journalists in the Balkans have less time to report about, and in addition have insufficient financial means and time to deal with profound analysis and research. Journalists often decide to give themselves in to sensationalism and yellow journalism, to write on trivial daily political issues, events, and distorting information. The current status of the media represents one of the side-effects of a badly conducted transition.
Because of all the above mentioned reasons, BASJ as an association realized that there is a lot of work to do, and that there is a necessity to establish some form of sustainable resource for journalists covering important science topics in our region.
Since May 2013 BASJ began with the realization of a mini project, funded by the Executive Council of the Autonomous province of Vojvodina - Secretariat for Sports and Youth. With minimal financial support, BASJ got the initial online platform up and running, for information, networking and education. It is meant for networking scientists, researchers, students, science journalists and associations, from the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe, as well as the science and media scene in Europe and the World.
If you want to join us, you can click on BASJ
and create a profile. In addition, you can create a group related to your profession or interest. Finally you can start a discussion, or make your suggestions for the further development of this educational and informative network.
The result of our selfless effort, work and enthusiasm is now available at www.balkanasj.com
. This is our contribution and maybe it will serve as an inspiration for other science journalists and associations in Europe and the rest of the World.