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National Commission for Science and Technology orients journalists in science and technology reporting

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National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) –a government parastatal responsible for the enhancement and promotion of science and technology in Malawi – has challenged journalists to develop interest in science and technology reporting.

NCST Acting Director of Planning Kondwani Victor Gondwe observed that the industry is receiving minimal coverage because majority of the journalists do not understand its importance to the social and economic growth of the nation.

Gondwe made the sentiments in Mponela, Dowa, on Wednesday during a one-day orientation workshop that drew journalists from a number of media institutions in Malawi.

He observed that many journalists are afraid of reporting on science and technology because they think the subjects are either too complicated for them to understand or too boring for their audience.

However, Gondwe stated that with the proper preparation, and by following a few simple rules, reporting science and technology can be one of the most interesting jobs a journalist can do.

“Hence, we organized this orientation to appraise our journalists so that they gain knowledge and skills that can enable them to report effectively on science and technology. We believe that empowering our journalists is very critical in terms of creating stories that should help Malawians to learn what science, technology and innovation is and how they can use science products in our economy,” he said.

Gondwe granting journalists an interview on the sidelines of the orientation workshop

Gondwe stated that the orientation is part of the initaitives the Commission is undertaking to bridge a gap that exists in media coverage on the subject.

“What we are doing is to appraise our journalists to do investigative journalism, but also to science journalism. If you can’t understand science, it will not be easy to report on science and technology,” he narrated.

In his presentation, National Planning Commission (NPC) Research Manager Dr. Andrew Jamali., said aggressive reporting science and technology can help Malawi fast-track attainment of Malawi 2063 – the country’s long-term development agenda.

Jamali said the media is therefore supposed to act as a bridge between the world of science and their communities.

NCST officials and journalists pose for a photo

He, however, emphasized that journalists do not need to be experts in science and technology, but simply need to be able to put the relevant parts of their knowledge into words, which your audience can understand.

“You do not have to understand the whole of any field of science yourself, but you must not write anything you do not understand. If you write something you do not understand, you risk making errors,” he said.

Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) reporter Cassim Aubi commended NCST for the training, describing it as an eye opener to them.

Aubi said the training had come at the right time when Malawi is making advancements in the science and technology sector.

“The knowledge and skills we have gained from this training will help us report correctly on the subject,” he said.

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