REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING
Since joining the WFSJ as a JASTJ member in mid-1990s, I have taken up progressively responsible assignments as a science journalist to report on the environment, medicine, energy and other key issues of science and technology in Japan and abroad. I have also actively mediated the lack of communication and misinformation among the public, scientists, industry experts and policy makers through numerous interviews, public discussions and publications.
To me, the most valuable activity of WFSJ in the past decade is the worldwide education program for science journalists in developing countries, the SjCOOP Project. When I participated in WCSJ in Helsinki in 2013 and in Seoul in 2015, I was encouraged by the increased number of conference participants from developing countries, some of whom had established associations of science journalists in their countries. This was the fruits of successful expansion of SjCOOP Projects from Africa to the Middle East and to Asia.
From June 2013 to May 2017, I served as a Chairman of JASTJ and led the SjCOOP Asia Project in Japan through organizing the 2013 Tokyo Conference, the 2014 Tokyo Conference, the 2015 WCSJ Seoul and the post-WCSJ 2015 tour to Fukushima and Fukuoka, Japan. At the 2015 WCSJ in Seoul, I was pleased to see the first regional network of science journalists from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, brought together by the SjCOOP Asia Project in the previous three years, was still active both locally and internationally. Furthermore, in 2016, I was invited to speak at the first international conference of the Society of Indonesian Science Journalists held in Bogor, Indonesia.
While media attention to the environment, energy, industrial and information technologies, medicine, climate change, natural disasters and other science-related issues has increased in the recent years, strategic knowledge management required to properly interpret and communicate such information has become highly specialized, without which one could risk reporting “alternative facts”. Local science journalists in both developed and developing countries play a crucial role in informing the public in their respective native languages about the scientific nature of the events/issues in concern and their political, economic and social implications. The SjCOOP Asia Project has provided a unique opportunity to bring together and enhance mutual learning between science journalists of countries where the importance of science journalism has long been recognized and related training of journalists exist, such as Japan, and countries where one might still face challenges establishing his/her profession as a science journalist.
While the activity of the SjCOOP Asia Project has been limited since 2016 due to financial shortfall, JASTJ aim to play a continuously important role in connecting and empowering science journalists in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, and I would like to further contribute to this aim as a WFSJ board member.
Skigeyuki Koide – JASTJ (Japanese Association of Science & Technology Journalists)
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Letter of reference – MEJA
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