A total of 500 high school teachers from Central Luzon underwent an e-learning session conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DoST-STII) on the importance of crafting accurate and easy to understand science-related stories in countering “fake news” and promoting science, technology, and innovation to a wider audience.
With the theme “#ScienceJournoAko: Popularizing Science Stories in a Changing Environment,” the webinar was done through a Facebook Closed Group in partnership with DoST Region III.
In his message, DoST-STII Director Richard P. Burgos stressed that communicating science in a manner that is easy to understand is important and knowing the facts and figures behind the science is not enough to effectively engage the public to appreciate and use science, technology, and innovation.
“I strongly believe that it is equally important for us who are engaged in science communication to be able to create compelling science stories that will have a positive impact on our lives and other people’s lives,” Burgos said.
Meanwhile, DoST Region 3 Director Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat emphasized that DoST has been developing appropriate solutions to existing problems and limitations of some areas in the country particularly during this time of health emergency brought about by COVID-19.
“Producing a pool of science communicators and journalists would be a great help for the public in order for them to be guided and have a clear understanding of the practical benefits in their lives, of those innovative technologies introduced and made by our local scientists,” Sicat said.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Fulbright scholar and founding editor of the SciTech section of GMA News Online Timothy James M. Dimacali shared various techniques and his extensive knowledge on how to create news and feature stories out of scientific researches, papers, and journals that can be transformed into easy-to-read stories suitable for newspapers, magazines, online news sites, and social media.
In his lecture, Dimacali shared useful techniques for a science writer, particularly in finding a story angle. He explained that figuring out your target audience greatly simplifies the process of finding a good story angle. However, he added that regardless of your target audience, the human interest angle almost always works.
Dimacali also said that learning to read a scientific paper in the right way can help us in producing compelling stories that are relatable to a larger audience.
“When we read scientific papers, there are things that we might focus on to clearly understand its main idea or concept. It includes references because it might help guide you on what is previously known or understood about the topic and acknowledgments because it might contain the researchers’ inspirations or motivations in publishing the study,” Dimacali shared.
This is the third of a series of webinars on science communication organized by the DoST-STII to enhance the skills of aspiring science communicators and journalists in creating compelling science-related content.
The first two focused on the importance of science blogging in the time of pandemic and harnessing the power of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to create S&T stories.