Dubai Press Club and Emirates Scientists Council, launch the first session of “Science Journalist Program”

Dubai Press Club (DPC) announced today the beginning of the first session of the ‘Science Journalist Program’, in collaboration with Emirates Scientists Council. The program aims to train journalists in local media organizations across the UAE about the basic rules, which govern scientific and technological concepts in order to express the precise details of science accurately in simple terms that the audience can understand.

The program, the first session of which was held at the DPC headquarters, will run for four months and will comprise of practical courses, workshops and interactive sessions, where the trainees can learn the basic rules and techniques of reporting science and technology. The program will also include field visits to scientific institutions in the UAE that aim to familiarize journalists with the various scientific subjects and enable them to acquire enough knowledge and understand the main constituents of scientific topics; consequently, be able to construct interesting news items that are comprehensible to their audience, regardless of their diverse educational backgrounds.

Chairperson of Emirates Scientists Council Sara Al Amiri said: “The launch of the ‘Science Journalist Program’, in cooperation with the Dubai Press Club, comes within the framework of the Councils’ keenness to promote science journalism through the launch of supportive initiatives and programs in science and technology in order to support the development process pursued by the UAE. “The program will equip journalists with the basic background information required for writing clear and accurate stories for the audience,” she affirmed. 

Al Amiri went on to explain that the program, in its first phase, targets a small group of journalists, while in the future, it aims to serve a larger number of journalists in order to help them excel in all forms of scientific writings, according to the best standards that meet the objectives of the Emirates Scientists Council. “In doing so, the council aims to create an environment conducive to scientific research, seeking to empower a generation of future UAE scientists,” Al Amiri added.

Director of the Dubai Press Club Alia Al Theeb said that the program is a direct translation of the solid cooperation framework between the Dubai Press Club and the Emirates Scientists Council, which aims at developing journalistic skills of local and Arab media outlets. She also added that the program comes in line with the latest developments in the UAE in the fields of space, energy, environment, climate change, information technology and future scientific research.

“The Dubai Press Club is keen to develop local and regional media skills so as to keep abreast with the best practices in media training programs, given the importance of corporate social responsibility role that media shoulders in relation to social development and awareness-raising in communities”, Al Theeb explained. “The increasing number of scientific topics and specialized disciplines and the widespread of new media platforms requires journalists who can communicate detailed and too complicated information in simple terms that are useful for the audience”, she affirmed, noting that unspecialized reporters are no longer required as each branch of science has its tools and methods of reporting.

“Science journalism is gaining momentum in terms of quantity and quality due to the emergence of new scientific projects, plans and the increase in the number of international scientific conferences”, the Director of DCP said. She explained that today, media has become essential due to the vital societal role it plays, shaping of public opinion, strengthening of society and acting as a watchdog of developmental plans. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that media acts as a bridge between the world of scientists and their community, rounding technical concepts to their nearest understandable form for the audience to digest.

The ‘Science Journalist Program’ is implemented in collaboration between the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, United Arab Emirates University and Khalifa University. The program translates the DPC’s training and development strategy aimed at contributing to media capacity building by means of efficient cooperation between the various local institutions. The program’s importance stems from the fact that the United Arab Emirates has made significant strides in the technical and scientific sectors, the most recent of which is its ambitious mission to Mars and the launch of Mars 2117 project, which aims to transport people to the Red Planet in a span of 100 years. These developments have made it critical for journalists to stay abreast of rapid changes in the scientific domain and find new and effective ways of conveying complex scientific information to their audiences.

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