Milica Momcilovich (Balkan)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology”, well-known words from Carl Sagan, a great scientist, and an exemplary science communicator, seem to be even truer today than in the past.

We are witnesses of the historically fastest development of all scientific disciplines, technological informatics revolution and its strong influence on our lives. Science journalism is without doubt very important in elevating the public knowledge level, in its education and development of modern social values.

I have been a science journalist since 2006, mainly in the television field, through my involvement with Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS). During this time, as an editor in the Science program and a journalist, I have acquired a great amount of knowledge and hands on experience. However, a rapidly changing world, public and technological acceleration set new standards on a yearly basis, putting an emphasis on networking on many levels. I have developed a special interest in establishing partnerships with journalists, scientists, and their institutes as one of the models for successful reporting on science and mutual capacity building.

I have been involved in the production of numerous TV shows and other formats, several of them being in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic Serbia and British Council. Also, I am editor-in-chief of Green-web-Action for sustainable future — multimedia web based platform dedicated to carrying on with the promotion of environmental values and long-term sustainable thinking in Serbia and region with critical coverage of issues in environment, climate change health and medicine.

As a member of Advisory Board of Belgrade Science Festival I have an opportunity to facilitate round table discussions on important science topics such as safety and efficacy of vaccination, health-related or ecological risks and potential benefits of using GMO in agriculture, and other means of direct contact between scientists and the public, as well.

The role of the media in this process cannot be doubted, and that is why science journalism is important and should be developed, especially in the SEE countries, which from all I know seems to be underrepresented in SEE media sphere. I am highly interested in the board position for several reasons:

  • To improve my capabilities in communicating through networking
  • To raise the question of importance of science journalism
  • To improve the quality of science reporting, promote standards and support science and technology journalists
  • To learn about the related media mechanisms
  • To learn more about building and maintaining trust between science and journalism as well as rebuilding public trust in science.

In conclusion, as an experienced science journalist, active in the media and non-governmental sector, I truly believe I am a fully adequate candidate for this position. I thank you in advance for taking my application into consideration.

Milica Momcilovich  Board Member, Balkan Network of Science Journalists


Question this Candidate by email: milicamomcilovic@gmail.com


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – Anthony King

Letter of reference – Srdja Jankovic

 

Return to Candidates page

 

Mandi Smallhorne (South Africa)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

I have been a board member of the South African Science Journalists Association since 2013 and was elected President in early 2014. In October of that year, I was also elected President of the African Federation of Science Journalists.

In 2015 I attended the WFSJ Conference in Seoul and presented a very successful panel there; I will be presenting two panels at the San Francisco Conference in October 2017.

I believe that the skills of science journalism are rapidly becoming essential in newsrooms across Africa. More and more, the focus of news stories is topics that have a science base: drought, wild fires, water scarcity, conservation agriculture and soil science, energy issues, health (from Ebola to malnutrition) and climate change, to cite some examples. And the lack of training in understanding and interrogating science is evident in much of the reporting on relevant stories.

So I have put a great deal of energy into training on science journalism. I have done training sessions across South Africa, under the aegis of SAASTA (the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement) and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, and in Namibia and Botswana at the invitation of local media-related organizations.

I am currently in confidential discussions with a major media organization in South Africa about providing training in science journalism skills to their newsroom staff, offering sessions regularly over several months.

I have also developed and driven an initiative to create financial support and mentorship for science journalism across four countries in Africa, which is very close to finalization.

In addition, I am currently working with an agency and a funding organization to hold an African Federation Conference early in 2018. One of the benefits I would bring to the WFSJ Board is obviously a network of contacts in science journalism across the continent.

Africa is undoubtedly a hot-spot for science-related issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and soil degradation, but the trend I have mentioned, for newsrooms to need more science journalism skills, is not unique to this continent.

And science journalism skills are not only valuable in terms of covering specific topics, they have a wider value in a world awash in ‘fake news’ – we are good at asking the right questions, at sniffing out clever fakery, at connecting dots beyond the political. A small but significant surge in demand for authentic, trustworthy journalism provides, I believe, an opportunity for us to make a place for science journalism in a range of media, to make the media world aware of the value of these skills, and to share them with others in media.

This is what I would hope to achieve on the board of the WFSJ, through outreach to targeted media organisations especially in the Global South, through training of journalists, creating a more secure position for our members, and hopefully working on new models for funding science journalism in a world where money for media is shrinking – but science journalism has never been more needed.

Mandi Smallhorne  President, African Federation of Science Journalists and South African Science Journalists Association


Question this Candidate by email: mandiwrite@icon.co.za


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – Steve Lang

Letter of reference – Rosalia Omungo

 

Return to Candidates page

 

Ochieng Ogodo (Kenya)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

Science is at the core of global sustainable development agenda as it is closely linked – if not at the heart – too many key global challenges such as energy, food security, biodiversity, land use, climate change, among others.

The creation of linkages between these different spheres of life and those impacted – positively or negatively – needs an informed society for informed choices. Society needs information that is easy to understand from science, technology, and innovations.

Shoring up these and bridging the gap between science and scientists on one hand, and members of society not immersed in science movement on the other is one of the fundamental functions of WFSJ.

The WFSJ will do this through capacity building of journalists interested in science news reporting, the creation of networks as well as floorboards in on-job learning processes, among many others. There is also the need to shop around for funds to drive the Federation’s programs.

It is these and other relevant needs, that gives me the motivation to seek to be one of the board members of this August global science journalists organization to help advance its mission and vision, not only for the benefit of the journalists but the global ecosystems that we share as humans.

Having been involved in the WFSJ activities such as its conferences and training activities, I believe I have enough knowledge and experience to help take it to another level in its growth.

It is my desire to become a board member so that I can, together with other board members, participate fully and effectively in board meetings and ensure implementation of resolutions thereof.

From my Nairobi station, I have no doubt that I will be able to make time available to be present at face-to-face meetings as well as virtual meetings and to communicate effectively and work cohesively with fellow board members as I have done before with WFSJ, other science journalists and organisations across the globe since I ventured into science journalism about twenty years ago.

Within the African context, I have so much been involved in making contributions to science journalism and one such demonstration was helping start a leading national science journalists association in Kenya, the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists (KENSJA), that I was its founding chairperson and the current patron.

I have been widely involved in science journalism movement, helping build capacity for science journalists across Africa and beyond.

Science journalists, as conduits for information coming out of events, studies… must keep abreast with new developments, which are enhanced tremendously with networking and stewardship of WFSJ.

This requires leadership anchored on those with great experience and commitment in science journalism: I am one of them. My record as a science journalist clearly gives me the motivation to seek to be on the board of the Federation to help advance its role globally.

I, therefore, offer my candidature to the Nomination Committee and Voting Delegates to give me chance to serve on the board. Thank you all and long live WFSJ.

Ochieng Ogodo  Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association


Question this Candidate by email: ochiengogodo@yahoo.com


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – Rosalia Omungo

Letter of reference – Mandi Smallhorne
Letter of reference – Mico Tatalovic

 

Return to Candidates page