Shigeyuki Koide (Japan)


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)


Question this Candidate by email: yuki-koide@nifty.com


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – MEJA 

Letter of reference – Harry Surjadi

 

Return to Candidates page

 

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

 

Manuel Lino (Mexico)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

I’d like to start by explaining how I envision my participation as a board member of the WFSJ. To do that, I think about the two WFSJ-Kavli Symposia I attended. In those occasions, it became clear to me that the journalists from the US, Canada and the UE didn’t have much idea on what was going on in the countries from the developing world and how science journalism could be of help to the people who live here. We were there, at the symposia, watching some wonderful examples of science journalism that were impossible to follow with the kind of jobs, outlets, time and resources that we usually have.

Just to give you an example, according to a survey made in 2013, in Mexico City there are less than 50 reporters covering science at all, and from those only 17 could say that that is their main activity. As far as we in the Mexican Network of Science Journalists (RedMPC) know, in the rest of the country there are no reporters that could say that science is their main subject.

I should follow by saying that I’m filing this application not only with the support of the Directive Council of the RedMPC, but following its specific request to do so.

Besides the two Kavli Symposia, the only other activity of the WFSJ in which I participated was the Members’ Special Meeting held in June 1st. And I have to confess that I’m not going to the WCSJ 2017, although I did put the WFSJ in contact with the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and, as a result from that, some Mexican reporters will have the funds to go… As for me, I trusted that at least one of the two session proposals I was in would be selected, but none was.

Since last May 31st I’m a freelancer, so I’ll be able to make time for the meetings with fellow board members and other duties that the position at the board will require.

Regarding my contribution to science journalism, on the one hand, I worked as the editor of the cultural section of the newspaper El Economista for around 12 years. During that time, I oriented the section to cover science as a part of culture. At first, I did the reporting myself; later, I managed to open a position for a science reporter and also for a freelance science writer and that structure remains. That led to the curious fact that, eventually in the newspaper we were the ones covering science related topics that had little to do culture, like innovation.

On the other hand, I consider the formation of the RedMPC somewhat of a personal achievement. We were four enthusiast persons in the starting team, but it was me who proposed the idea in the first place and the one in charge to invite other Mexican science journalists to believe in the idea and join us.

Manuel Lino  President of RedMPC (Mexican Network of Science Journalists)


Question this Candidate by email: mlino6@gmail.com


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – Tania Martinez 

Letter of reference – RedMPC

 

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

 

Alex Abutu (Nigeria)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

There is a growing concern among African science journalists that the WFSJ has sidelined science journalists on the African continent where the need for science journalism is greatest. This concern is based on the near absence or insufficient science journalists in Africa to report on the cutting-edge technologies and innovations that governments of most African states are embarking on to solve some of the developmental challenges facing the continent.

My inspiration to be on the WFSJ board is based on my conviction that the Federation can play a major role in the training and retraining of more science journalists that can properly report on scientific and technological strides in Africa.

I was among the first group of SjCOOP mentees that benefited from the Federation’s innovative mentoring program for African and Middle Eastern young and upcoming science journalists. My participation in that program with three others from Nigeria led to the formation of the Nigeria Association of Science Journalists (NASJ).

As the founding President of NASJ, I was charged with the responsibility of mobilizing other science writers across Nigeria. I brought them unto the NASJ platform. Within the one year of my tenure, I was able to bridge the divide that existed between the northern and southern based journalists.

I moved on to become the Secretary General of the African Federation of Science Journalists. As Secretary General, I was able to work with Mr. Diran Onifade, the President, to have the association registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria as a non-governmental organization.

I worked with a London-based International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publication to fund a training program for science journalists across Africa.

The training was held in Nairobi in March 2012 with over 20 science journalists from about nine African countries.

http://www.africasti.com/lead-stories/afsjinasp-mentoring-programme-take-ff-in-nairobi

My rise to the job, fellowships and all awards that I have won/gotten since 2006 were made possible because of the knowledge I acquired during the WFSJ mentoring program.

Between 2012 and 2015, I was involved in a Cambridge University program called Biosciences For Farming in Africa (www.b4fa.org) as Nigerian Coordinator and we have succeeded in training over 150 science journalists in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania.

I also work with African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) to train science journalists on reporting on their genetic cowpea, rice and cotton project in their operational countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Malawi.

I work closely with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), located in Ibadan, Nigeria to regularly train science journalists in Africa on how to report on agriculture for impact.

Beyond training and searching out opportunities for African science journalists, I have started a science blog, www.scientificng.com to provide a platform for science writers on the African continent to publish their works.

Becoming a board member of WFSJ, therefore, will accord me the needed impetus to continue to look for opportunities for science journalists on the African continent to horn their skills to report science for impact.

Alex Abutu  Nigerian Association of Science Journalists (NASJ)


Question this Candidate by email: alexyabutu@gmail.com


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – Hanns Neubert
Letter of reference – Michael Simire

Letter of reference – NASJ

 

Return to Candidates page

 

Harry Surjardi (Indonesia)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

There are several reasons or considerations why I am applying for WFSJ’s board member.

  1. I’ve been reporting science (focusing on environmental sciences and issues) for more than 20 years. In the last 10 years, I was also helping young journalists to report science stories. One of them, I helped SjCOOP Asia, the WFSJ program on science journalism mentoring in Asia.
  2. I could say – based on my 20 years experiences as science journalist – media in Asia or more specific in South East Asia are not interested in science reporting. They are more interested in politics and economic reporting. Only the big media has science section or science program.
  3. Asia is the biggest continent in the world, in term of area and population. Population in Asia is around 4,436 billion in 2016 and the world population is around 7 billion. More than half of the world’s population live in Asia alone. Asians account for the largest media consumers.
  4. There are 50 independent countries in Asia (most of them are developing countries). The three largest countries are in Asia: China, India, and Indonesia. But, there are only eight science journalist organizations in Asia. Asia is the center stage of media world as reported by FAO.
  5. The role of a science journalist is needed in Asia to increase science literacy of the half world population, to help the government of countries in Asia to consider research before issuing policies, to advance.

The WFSJ should bring back science journalism to Asia after the First World Conference of Science Journalists in Japan. If I were selected as WFSJ Board member, I would focus on helping WFSJ to bring again science journalism to Asia:

  1. Helping science journalists in ASEAN member states to establish science journalist organizations. There are currently only two science journalist organizations member of WFSJ in South East Asia: Philippine and Indonesia. And one group of science journalists is under the national journalist association in Vietnam. In Thailand, there is Thai Society of Environmental Journalists that not WFSJ member.
  2. With the organizations of science journalists in ASEAN, I would like to organize the Forum of Science Journalists in ASEAN.
  3. Then to organize the Forum of Science Journalists in Asia.
  4. If Africa and Arab have an association of science journalists, Asia supposedly has one association of science journalists also. With the help of WFSJ, science journalist organizations in Asia could establish the Asia Association of Science Journalists. The members are science journalist organizations in every country in Asia.

Thank you for considering my application and thank you to Dominique Forget who has encouraged me to apply for WFSJ’s board member.

Harry Surjadi Chair of the Society of Indonesian Science Journalists


Question this Candidate by email: hsurjardi@gmail.com 


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – SISJ
Letter of reference – James Fahn

 

Return to Candidates page

 

Federico Kukso (Argentina)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

In 2015, I had the luck to win one of the most prestigious fellowships in science journalism, the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. Suddenly, after years of writing about science, technology, and culture in a distant city as Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was there: at MIT and Harvard. But to be honest, that was not what dazzled me: what excited me was to have the opportunity to spend almost a year in the company of colleagues from all over the world. To be able to share classes, ideas, experiences with people from different countries and cultures and with an uncontrollable desire to tell science stories. Being able to know the men and women behind the profession. As in many World Conferences of Science Journalists I attended before, I was able to appreciate one of the best aspects of humanity: diversity.

In these stormy times of fake news, climate change deniers and of Anti-Vaccination movements, science journalism is more important than ever. We need critical thinking and to look beyond hypotheses, wonders and data, maintaining our skepticism, committed to accuracy and always seeking the truth.

But science journalism is sterile without diversity. It is important not only to diversify the sources of information but also to diversify the voices. To show that, even though the internet and other technologies have made the world a smaller place, our planet is still huge and unknown.

With their own cultural views, regions like Latin America, Asia or Scandinavia have a lot to offer to the science journalism community: different points of view on issues such as artificial intelligence, the ethical implications of genetic engineering, climate adaptation, outbreaks of diseases, epidemics and pandemics such as Ebola and Zika.

 In an increasingly diverse and globalized world, we should discuss and engage in international collaboration efforts to improve the quality of science journalism in a global scale, to tell better and global science stories and to fortify ties among our multicultural communities.

That´s what I being trying to do in the last years. In my case, it’s to build bridges between science journalists from Latin America and Spanish-speaking countries with the world. For example, I organized a session in the 4th European Conference for Science Journalists in Copenhagen about bilingual science journalism. And I will be one of the panelists in the WCSJ in San Francisco 2017.

I have also participated as speaker in many science journalism conferences (Doha, Helsinki, Seoul) and workshops in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and in the rest of Latin America.

During the past ten years, I have seen how science journalism has increasingly professionalized in this region of the world. Many associations of science writers from countries like Argentina or Chile have slowly shaped a regional identity. The most recent example is the newborn Mexican Network of Science Journalists. But even as the average level of science reporting in Latin Amerca is improving, much remains to be done.

Diversity is our greatest strength and as a global community of science journalists we should embrace it and boost it.

Federico Kukso  Member of RADPC (Argentinian Network of Science Journalists)


Question this Candidate by email: fedkukso@gmail.com


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – Lucy Calderon

Letter of reference – Valeria Roman
Letter of reference – Deborah Blum

 

Return to Candidates page

 

Chhatra Karki (Nepal)


REASONS WHY I AM APPLYING 

Back in 2000, I visited a natural disaster-prone impoverished village in southern plain of Nepal with a team of climate researchers. The team of scientists was trying to understand the phenomena of climatic extremities, its impacts, and vulnerabilities, and find the solutions. Local communities were suffering from climate related disasters for years, science was there, solutions were out there, however, neither the local people understood the complex science of weather and climate change, nor could the Scientists communicate the issues in public language. As a journalist, this incident touched me and, I realized that this communication barrier between scientists and public is a tremendous opportunity for journalists like me to serve in science journalism field.

In my understanding, science reporting in public media can bridge the gap between science, society and policy. It can aware the public, inform the policy and provide feedback to the scientific communities. To date, I have covered different science related issues including the environment, health, climate change, energy, natural resources management and other scientific innovations. Apart from writing and reporting on science-related issues, I have been continuously collaborating and interacting with scientists, presenting papers, and delivering training and mentoring fellow journalists to mainstream science journalism in national media. I am the founding president of Nepal Forum of Science Journalists (NFSJ) that was established in 2014. This organization is highly recognized at the national level. In my leadership, NFSJ has built partnerships with Ministry of Science of Nepal Government, National Academy of Science and Technology, Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University in order to disseminate the outcomes of scientific researchers and science conferences. Institutionally, we are expanding our network at regional and global level. NFSJ is an active member association of World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ).

I am familiar with the mission and objectives of WFSJ and I share common interests to bridge between science, scientists and the public. Since 7th world congress in 2011, I have regularly been participating the Congress, sharing my experiences, learning from fellow journalists from all over the world and expanding my professional network. In Doha conference, I participated as a Participant and shared my journalistic experience. With the financial support from Finnish Ministry of Culture, I attended the 8th conference in Helsinki, Finland in 2013. At the 9th conference Seouloul, Korea, I was invited as a speaker to present on Nepal Earthquake 2015.

Having long-standing experience in science journalism, professional network at multiple level, and sharing common values with WFSJ, I consider myself as an appropriate candidate for the WFSJ Board. Provided the opportunity, I am highly committed to contribute my time and efforts to achieve the goal of the organization. With the collective decision, my initiatives will be on expanding membership, developing capacity of the members, extending regional collaboration and increasing the interface with scientists. In addition, I will contribute on the activities initiated by the WFSJ Board.

Chhatra Karki  President, Nepal Forum of Science Journalists


Question this Candidate by email: karki.chhatra@gmail.com


DOCUMENTS

CV
Letter of reference – Vesa Niinikangas

Letter of reference – Pallava Bagla

Letter of reference – NFSJ

 

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