The Synergy between Scientists & Journalists to set up a Science-Literate Indonesian Society

The Conference of Indonesian Science Journalists was launched on Saturday, August 29th, 2015 in the Forestry Research and Development Center (Puslitbang) in Bogor.

This important event was organized by the Society of Indonesian Science Journalists (SISJ) in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry and Environmental Affairs (LHK), the World Federation of Science Journalists and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

SEVERAL WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS

The conference consisted of several workshops and seminars. On Saturday, Mr. Yosep Suprayogi, senior science journalist at TEMPO, explained how to ‘detect science stories’. While N Makruf discussed reporting on ‘science and public policy’. A second workshop on ‘reporting controversy’ was organized by Rovicky Dwi Putrohari from the Indonesian Association of Geologists with Mr. Yosep Suprayogi from SISJ. CIFOR gave a presentation about forest fires and wetlands conservation.

On Sunday, the participating journalists were trained in ‘Data journalism’ and joined the laboratory tour organized by the Forestry Research Center. Two Japanese journalists, Shigeyuki Koide and Minako Takizawa from the Japan Association of Science and Technology Journalists (JASTJ), shared their experience on starting a science journalist association in Japan.

OTHER KEY TOPICS FROM THE EVENT

Mr. Nugroho Sulistyo Priyono, the Head of the Evaluation of Library Dissemination Division of the LHK Ministry, warmly welcomed the event. Mr. Priyono strongly supports the creation of the SISJ as a way to communicate between scientists and journalists. However, as the SISJ grows in the future he would like to see a stronger synergy between both professions.

The LHK in turn has documented some 100 papers on science and technology innovation, but they still have a problem with their dissemination. Better distribution would open-up the possibility for journalists to promote their papers and to encourage policies that support the development of science and technology as a part of making a science-literate Indonesian society.

Mr. Sangkot Marzuki, the president of the Indonesia’s Academy of Science, attended the conference as a keynote speaker. Mr. Marzuki spoke about Indonesia’s challenges towards 2045 when the country will celebrate its centenary. Today science is not yet considered as being very ‘important’ and it takes up only a very small proportion in the national budget (0.09%). “Ideally, to prosper a country needs 2% of the national budget for science and technology,” Mr. Marzuki said.

Mr. Marzuki also focused on three big challenges that Indonesia faces toward the year 2045:

  1. Creating a science-based society achieving food-sovereignty
  2. Facing a dynamic ecology that is vulnerable in creating new diseases,
  3. Anticipating the accelerating growth of the middle class.

A SUCCESFUL AND UNIQUE EVENT

The Conference of Indonesian Science Journalists was overall a success for the development of science and technology in Indonesia. “This unique event did not only improve science journalism skills such as reporting controversy and data journalism but it also created links between scientists and journalists,” concluded Ms. Mariko Hayashi from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

The two day event was the first national conference that gathered journalists and scientists coming from all over the Indonesian archipelago and was attended by 90 science journalists and scientists, with very diverse backgrounds such as a dragonfly researcher to an astronomer.

Article by Dyna Rochmyaningsih (SISJ Secretariat)
Edited by Eric Lauwers (WFSJ)

September 1, 2015