I will reflect on the experience of editing news stories in developing country journalists and try to identify the key challenges such journalists face and how to address them. Among the repeating issues that can easily be improved there are: citing sources of information; copying press releases and other materials; failing to get a comment from the primary source of the information; and failing to get an external comment.
I will also look into cases where the journalist gets an external comment which is not directly relevant to the story; or when they get several comments that are all saying the same thing or are all too general about the wider topic, rather than the news at hand.
These are all issues that I come across repeatedly as a news editor and can easily be fixed by following certain tips and understanding the reason why quality science journalism follows certain rules, such as not relying on press releases and requiring an external comment.
I will use real examples of news stories from developing country journalists and from Croatian newspapers. The outcome should be a better understanding of how to shape and write a better quality science news stories, but also a statement on what we consider to be quality in science news writing inviting comments on why we follow certain rules the way we do and whether there are different ways of writing objective science news.
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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Promoting quality of science journalism in developing countries

Mico Tatalovic   Deputy news editor at SciDev.Net; board of directors for the Association of British Science Writers; freelancer for a range of Croatian outlets

I will reflect on the experience of editing news stories in developing country journalists and try to identify the key challenges such journalists face and how to address them. Among the repeating issues that can easily be improved there are: citing sources of information; copying press releases and other materials; failing to get a comment from the primary source of the information; and failing to get an external comment.
I will also look into cases where the journalist gets an external comment which is not directly relevant to the story; or when they get several comments that are all saying the same thing or are all too general about the wider topic, rather than the news at hand.
These are all issues that I come across repeatedly as a news editor and can easily be fixed by following certain tips and understanding the reason why quality science journalism follows certain rules, such as not relying on press releases and requiring an external comment.
I will use real examples of news stories from developing country journalists and from Croatian newspapers. The outcome should be a better understanding of how to shape and write a better quality science news stories, but also a statement on what we consider to be quality in science news writing inviting comments on why we follow certain rules the way we do and whether there are different ways of writing objective science news.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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