Media Fellowship Program

Media Fellowship Programme – Outline

For the majority of people, most of their exposure to scientific and technological advances after formal education occurs though the media. Journalists and broadcasters therefore play a crucial role as the bridge between science and the public. As a source of information, analysis, and critical comment on current events and developments, science journalism performs a pivotal role in how modern societies view and accept or reject technological advances. In view of the importance of agriculture for economic and social development, there is a genuine need for specialised reporters to cover science and agriculture-related issues in the media.

The Cambridge, UK-run Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) project offers a Pan-African Professional Development programme over a twelve to eighteen- month period to media professionals (including journalists, editors, broadcasters and producers) in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania. The dates for the workshops with which the second round of Media Fellowships in 2013 will begin are: March 13-16 Ghana; March 18-21 Nigeria; April 10- 13 Uganda; and April 15-18 Tanzania.

The purpose of this Fellowship scheme is to encourage dialogue on the issue of plant breeding, genetic sciences and agricultural biotechnology within the media and the scientific communities both nationally and internationally. The scheme also aims inform media professionals and others of recent advances in plant breeding and agricultural biotechnology, and to examine how these advances could be and are being applied nationally.

Activities aim to strike a balance between the practical and the academic, are led by award-winning journalists and eminent scientists from Africa, Europe and the Americas, and include a mixture of training courses, field trips, conferences and networking events.

We currently have more than 80 journalists from our focus countries enrolled on our Fellowship programmes – their enthusiasm in finding out for themselves what progress is being made in the application of bioscience for crop improvement in their own countries, and their subsequent communication of their discoveries on air, in their newspapers and on the web, serve to highlight not only the rich diversity of research and development being carried out in Africa by African experts, but also the ongoing impact of this programme in assisting them to make these issues more widely known and better understood.