World Federation of Science Journalists

Comment on UNESCO science journalism course curriculum

August 8, 2007

WFSJ, in collaboration with UNESCO, invites science journalists, particularly colleagues working in the developing world, to comment on the generic science journalism curriculum that UNESCO has supported.

UNESCO is investing in the development of a generic science journalism curriculum that can be delivered in a 12 month period. It is hoped that it will meet the science communication needs of emerging and developing economies. UNESCO is looking into a curriculum that can be easily distributed (online and offline) and delivered to science and humanities students in developing countries.

Please, include your comments below or send them to before 12 October 2007. WFSJ will compile the comments received and present a report to UNESCO.

The science journalism course's objectives are the following:

1. WRITING AND REPORTING SKILLS: To give students a high-quality intensive course in science writing and reporting, which teaches them how to explain science clearly in print, radio, TV and on the internet; how to identify messages and get them across; and how to tell stories

2. CRITICAL THINKING: To teach students to think critically about scientific issues and controversies so that they can judge the value of competing arguments

3. MEDIA UNDERSTANDING: To increase students' understanding of how the media operates and how science news, features and editorial can be produced without compromising the quality of the scientific information

4. NETWORKING: To provide a basic and flexible science journalism course that can be further developed as those using it provide input and share ideas

5. ACCESSIBILITY: To give students access to international ideas and practices

Target audiences

The curriculum is targeting science and humanities graduates in developing countries. Given that, in developing countries, students taking the course are more likely to be science graduates, the curriculum emphasises interviewing and writing skills. Modules of the curriculum could also be used with undergraduate science and humanities students.

Project outcome

The result of this project is a generic science journalism curriculum that UNESCO/UNITWIN can distribute to Chairs and other networks, and that can easily be taught by lecturers with a range of backgrounds. It will have the flexibility to be adaptable to local circumstances and the skills and abilities of students from different cultures and with different experiences. It will be capable of being delivered online and by lecturers of varying experience and backgrounds, as long as they have backup support of "train-the-trainer" and other programs.


Get the Word Document of the Science Journalism Curriculum