World Federation of Science Journalists

Science Journalism meets Science in Qatar


January 21, 2008

More than 75 science journalists are meeting in Doha, Qatar 3 - 9 February 2008 in continuation of a landmark program of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ). "Science Journalism meets Science in Qatar" is a partnership of the Aljazeera Network and Qatar Foundation with the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Comprising coordinators, mentors, and mentees the program will review and plan the next and final stage of the Federation's Science Journalism Cooperative (SjCOOP) project aimed at mentoring 60 science journalists from Africa and the Middle East. Follow-up projects in the regions will be discussed. The World Federation is also discussing similar projects in Latin America.


The meeting to be hosted by Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development.QMDI – Qatar MICE Development Institute are event managers. The first meeting of the 2- year mentoring project kicked off in October 2006 in Nairobi (Kenya). Other key activities in the project are ongoing including:
  •  First Global Online course in Science Journalism
  • A dedicated website for mentoring and training
  • Skypecasts for electronic discussion and press briefings with scientists all over the world.
  • Formation of National Science Associations in African and Middle East countries among other innovations.
This workshop is the second face-to-face meeting of all mentees, mentors, coordinators and consultants participating in the SjCOOP mentoring program in science journalism. The Doha Workshop will cover both key components of the SjCOOP program: mentoring of individuals and support to associations.

One of the key activities in Doha is the investigation and interview with scientists by individual journalists to develop stories which will be evaluated through peer review mechanisms. Six best winning articles, two each from Anglophone, Francophone and Arab science journalists, will be selected by the mentors and coordinators and awarded a laptop each for the effort. Patrick Luganda, a mentee from Kenya says: “Actually trying on our own to get to the scientists is what this is all about. If we fail it makes good training material and if we succeed it too makes excellent training material.”

Augustine Alexander Abutu from Nigeria will be “doing a story on the implications of gas flaring comparing the situation in Nigeria oil producing zone with Qatar.” His focus would turn the searchlight on Nigeria’s wasteful gas flaring in the Niger Delta Region, a situation that is older than Nigeria’s independence and has further worsened the country’s environmental degradation.

And the eggheads would not leave Doha without a taste of Floor Hockey that would place the male against the already “winning” champions the all female WFSJ team. But the male team have planned a winning strategy with the African science (or is it witch) doctor Armand Faye who promise to import the all important African Science (“Juju”) that “makes our winning certain” he boasted during a global Skype meeting of the group on Friday January 18, 2008.