World Federation of
Science Journalists

World news round-up

February 28, 2007 posted in Sci.Journalism

African Conference Scores Big: The inaugural African Science Communication Conference held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, last month was an apparent success, with one major result the establishment of a strong continental network of communicators. To see some of the presentations from that conference, and to join the resultant discussion group, go to:
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Zambian Science Journalism Recognized: The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) of Zambia has announced that it will recognize outstanding science and technology journalists.
The awards are part of a proposed broader partnership that could spark improvement in the relations between scientists and journalists in Zambia, where science writers were once either consistently ignored or, when acknowledged, demeaned. It is hoped the new partnership will both help scientists raise the profile of their work, and make it easier for journalists to access information from the NSTC.
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First IDRC-SciDev.Net Award: By coincidence, a Zambian science journalist is the recipient of the first "IDRC - SciDev.Net Science Journalism Award." The prize, which is worth CAD$60,000 (US$53,000), will allow Talent Ng'andwe to work with the Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net) for several months to develop his professional skills.
The award is one of four granted this year by IDRC, the Canadian agency that supports the WFSJ as well as other programs for the developing world, and SciDev.Net, the on-line news service. Applications were invited by SciDev.Net from regular contributors to the website.
Ng'andwe will be based at SciDev.Net in London, United Kingdom; two Francophone journalists will be based at Agence Science-Presse in Montreal, Canada; and a Canadian English-speaking journalist will be based at another institution. Each award will be valued at US$53,000 to cover living and travel expenses.
IDRC created the grants on an experimental basis through its Training and Awards Program to "foster a vibrant culture of science journalism" and to "promote a field-based understanding of developing countries' scientific realities." The awards will be managed and administered by SciDev.Net
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Science Coverage Boosted in China: A new government scheme to improve science communication in China announced in early December aims to increase science coverage in newspapers, magazines, TV stations and other broadcasters and to encourage publishers to distribute more popular science books.
According to a report in SciDev.Net, the government hopes to fund both the improvement of existing programs and the development of new media. For example, the scheme calls for publishers to distribute more popular science books in rural areas, with thousands of bookstores and newsstands planned for remote rural areas. Other measures include supporting interactive science communication websites, as well as creating computer or Internet games for science communication.
Part of a massive 15-year national plan for promoting science literacy, the latest scheme was drawn up by the science ministry and other government departments, the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), and China's media watchdog, the Central Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist, which suggests that the increased flow of science news may still have some limitations.

Science, Communication and Society Workshop, San Jose, Costa Rica, 9-11 May 2007
Organized by SciDev.Net and several Costa Rican science agencies, the event will explore the informal science and technology education; the role of science museums and interactive centers; the production of popular science materials; and the role of science journalism in promoting science literacy. The event will be held in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The deadline for submitting paper and poster ideas was December 15, but interested parties might get an extension by contacting Alejandra Leon-Castella at the Fundacion Cientec, or You can also check the website at:
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The Center for Global Communication Studies is accepting applications for the 3rd Annenberg-Oxford Summer Institute in Global Media Policy, which will be held at St. Catherine's College, Oxford, from June 24-July 7, 2007.
The annual institute brings together young scholars and regulators from around the world to discuss important recent trends in technology and its influence on information policy. The sessions deal with recent problems in satellite delivery of information, emerging issues in the structuring of the mobile industry and its delivery of video.
The objective of the program is to help prepare, motivate, and support students and practitioners who aspire to pursue a career in communications media, may it be in academia, business or in policy-related fields. Applications are welcomed from students and practitioners working in communications, media, law, policy, regulation, and technology.
The application deadline is March 15, 2007. To obtain a copy of the application, please email
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Freelance radio producers are invited to submit story proposals for the Green Planet Monitor, a series of audio programs about global development created by Canada's Earth Chronicle Productions, with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency and the Social Justice Fund of the Canadian Autoworkers Union.
The series will launch in podcast form in early January. In line with the series subtitle -- Smart Solutions for a Developing World -- proposed pieces will examine challenges in health care, food production, urban design, community-based economics, pollution reduction, resource conservation and other development areas, and how these challenges are being addressed through local innovation and energy.
Stories from the Asia-Pacific region, central Eurasia, the Middle East, north and southern Africa and South America are of particular interest. English-language pieces 4-6 mins. in length are required, for which producers will be paid at a rate of CAD $125/min. Stories with a Canadian connection are of particular interest. Please e-mail story proposals and background info on yourself to GPM Executive Producer Dave Kattenburg, at
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The following are fellowships or awards whose current application deadlines have passed, but which are given annually and thus could be "bookmarked" for the future:
Nieman Fellowships for Study at Harvard University are awarded annually to 12 U.S. and 12 international journalists who have at least five years of experience. Funds are restricted to U.S. citizens, so international candidates must find their own financial support for tuition and living expenses. For more information or to apply, email or visit

All journalists and freelancers in Africa are eligible for the "Siemens Profile Awards for Journalistic Excellence in the fields of Science and Technology," sponsored by Siemens Southern Africa to develop, nurture, and advance quality science and technology reporting. Prizes include cash and business equipment. The grand prize winner will also receive an all-expenses paid overseas trip. For more information, visit

The Jefferson Fellowships for Journalists are travel and study awards given twice a year to English-speaking print and broadcast journalists with a minimum of five years experience. (The 2007 recipients will travel to Hawaii, China, and India to discuss Asia's emerging "knowledge economies.") For more information about the program, based at Hawaii's East-West Center, go to:

The Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowships in Science & Religion enable up to twelve print, broadcast, or online journalists to pursue an intensive two-month course of study in issues of science and religion. The program includes three weeks of seminars at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. featuring eminent authorities in the field. Fellows will be paid a stipend in addition to travel expenses to Cambridge. The fellowship seeks to promote a deeper understanding and a more informed public discussion of the interface of science and religion. The awards are open to journalists with a minimum of three years' experience, though priority will be given to mid-career and senior journalists. For more information, go to:

The News University, a "virtual academy" sponsored by the US-based journalism-oriented Poynter Foundation, offers a host of so-called e-learning opportunities. Other journalism training programs from other institutions are now available through "Access," the NewsU blog, which highlights courses, proceedings from conferences or conventions, and Web sites for professional development. Go to
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Journalists interested in HIV/AIDS can now access a new media guide available in English, French, Tamil, Khmer, and Tagalog. The guides were launched on November 30 by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its local network of associated organizations in Asia and Africa. They are part of a two-year program supported by the Swedish trade union movement, the LO-TCO. The overall aim is to improve the global standard of HIV/AIDS reporting by providing answers to frequently asked questions about the causes, transmission, impact and treatment of the disease. Tailored to specific regions, the guides contain local contact lists and samples of HIV/AIDS reporting. For more information or to access the media guides, visit or
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If you are a certified "space cadet," or just someone with a general interest in international space activity, you'll want to receive astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell's obsessive update on what's up up there. Send him a request via : "Or, simply subscribe at: "Of course, you can always check it out first at:"
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ResearchSEA is a new free resource that offers news and views on research in Asia and connects journalists with key experts from the most respected research institutions in Asia. Go to: Members of ISWA can register for a journalist account which enables one to receive daily or weekly press releases of the latest research news and access contact details of experts
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If you are interested in science and technology in Finland, you may want to check out The Academy of Finland's web-based newsletter at: The Academy will also send you monthly news updates. Ask ISWA member Maj-Lis Tanner to add you to the list:
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Natural Resources Canada, a federal government department responsible for forests, energy and earth sciences, operates an electronic newsroom ( that, in addition to standard news releases and media advisories, has links to " Ready-to-Use Articles," a monthly Tipsheet, photo libraries, and more for writers looking for stories on natural resources management.

Hey Nigel's newest book, "The Star Wars Enigma," an insider's look at how SDI--Ronald Reagan's mind-boggling, budget-busting, space-defense boondoggle--came into being, has been published to excellent reviews. Hey gets particular praise for digging out lots of previously unpublished material from military-space experts in the US, Russia, and Britain. Copies can be ordered--at a discount-- from, or, you can checkout Nigel's own webpage:
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The popular science magazine COSMOS, edited by ISWA member Wilson da Silva, has won an unprecedented eight honors at Australia's Bell Magazine Awards, including the coveted Magazine of the Year and Editor of the Year. The 2006 awards, given annually by the magazine industry association, Australian Business & Specialist Publishers, were presented at Sydney's Four Seasons Hotel on Friday 24 November. In addition to being named "editor of the year" for the second consecutive time, da Silva, who also serves as President of the WFSJ, won an award for the "Best Opinion Series."
COSMOS is a bi-monthly print magazine originally launched in June 2005 by Luna Media Pty Ltd, a boutique publishing house in Sydney founded by four individuals: Melbourne neuroscientist and entrepreneur Dr Alan Finkel, magazine publishing executive Kylie Ahern and science journalists Wilson da Silva and Elizabeth Finkel. On Wednesday 22 November it launched its second print title, G Magazine, which, as its name might imply, is devoted to promoting environmentally friendly lifestyles and technologies. Earlier this year, the group launched its first Internet news and features service, Cosmos Online, which you can see at
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Professor Sharon Friedman reports that, for the next two years, she will serve as an Associate Dean at Lehigh University, her long-time academic home, but she will continue with some teaching and her media research on nanotechnology risks. Also, in May of this year, Friedman was named co-recipient of Lehigh's Hillman Faculty Prize for excellence in teaching, research, and service.
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Harvey Leifert, the esteemed Public Information Manager of the American Geophysical Union, is poised to retire early in 2007 after nine years with that organization, during which he helped make the AGU's annual meetings major stops on the science media circuit. Actually, this will be Harvey's third retirement. He came to the AGU after serving four years as president of the non-profit Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB). And before that, he was, for some 27 years, a foreign service officer with the U.S. Information Agency. His replacement at AGU, incidentally, will be Peter Weiss, a staff writer at Science News magazine.
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Robyn Williams, host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's long-running The Science Show, is also now the author of "Unintelligent Design: Why God Isn't As Smart s She Thinks She Is" (Allen &Unwin, 165 pages) a wry and witty look at some current wrong-headed theories of evolution.
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Fabiola Oliveira, Professor of Science Journalism at the Universidade do Vale do Para?ba (UNIVAP) in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, has announced that her long-held dream of creating a "long-distance (read: Internet) course in science journalism" will come true. Starting next May, aspiring students throughout the Portuguese-speaking world can pursue an advanced degree in this field on-line. More details, in Portuguese for now, can be found at:



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