World Federation of
Science Journalists

SjCOOP: Xtreme Training in Science Journalism

Are you made of the right stuff to contribute to the most demanding science journalism training program ever?

(WFSJ) --- The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) is launching SjCOOP, a multilingual, international and three-year training scheme in science journalism for which it needs a team of 15 mentors.

If you are an experienced and successful science journalist with a career in Arabic, English or French (and speak English), this is the opportunity to share your skills and live an extraordinary science journalism experience.

From January 2010 to December 2012, the World Federation of Science Journalists will be implementing project SjCOOP, which will include tutoring, mentoring, training, internships, reporting, and meetings.

During its first iteration, from 2006 to 2009, some 81 journalists entered the SjCOOP program. All of them benefited to a different extent but only 32 made it all the way to full graduation. Survivors were rewarded with international freelancing opportunities, awards, travel opportunities, and promotions.

This second phase of SjCOOP will aim at training 60 journalists (mentees) from Africa and the Middle East. Training will be offered in Arabic, English and French. Participating journalists will meet within their own language group but the three groups will also meet and interact together.

During the first five months, mentors will walk each mentee through the 8 lessons of the Federation’s online course in science journalism: This distance tutoring is followed by another five months of mentoring reviewing all aspects of the science journalism profession, from basic writing skills to career development.

After ten months of tutoring and mentoring, mentees then take the initiative. They undertake a full year of science reporting, with ever increasing level of difficulties, all the way to investigative science reporting and coordinated reporting with colleagues from other countries on transborders issues.

Throughout the ordeal, mentors will have opportunities to meet their mentees face to face four times. SjCOOP will also support internships for each mentee, as much as possible, in the media of their mentor.

Several evaluations will be required to provide reality checks on the progress of each mentee as a professional science journalist. Some of these, i.e. quality of writing, will be done by external evaluators and will complement the evaluations performed by the mentors.

The World Federation of Science Journalists is implementing SjCOOP as a unique opportunity for journalists in Africa and in the Arab World to become skilled at covering demanding scientific and technological issues.

The objective is that successful SjCOOP graduates, thanks in parts to the contacts of their mentor, be rewarded with an international network of contacts including freelancing opportunities. The project team will also support mentees in their participation in their own national and regional associations.

If you think you have what it takes to become a SjCOOP mentor, read “Mentor in Science Journalism” which gives more details on the mentor’s tasks and required qualifications, and fill in the following form:

I want to be a SjCOOP mentor

Training for Mentors

Mentors will be offered an initial five-day training session (June 28 - July 2nd 2010). They will be supported through the whole program by their coordinator and the SjCOOP staff.