Image: Scientist-journalist 'speed dating session at the SGCI Annual Forum in Mombasa, Kenya. ©Dr Charles Wendo


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‘Speed dating’ event brings scientists and journalists together

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  • The aim of the ‘speed dating’ was to help scientists make useful connections with journalists who may report their research findings in the media. 

A special ‘speed dating’ session held during the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) Annual Forum in Mombasa, Kenya, has brought scientists and journalists closer together with a view to greater dissemination of research stories.

SciDev.Net jointly organised the scientist-journalist ‘speed dating’ session with the National Research Fund (NRF) Kenya. The aim of the session was to help scientists make useful connections with journalists who may report their research findings in the online, print, or broadcast media. It also aimed at helping journalists to make contacts with researchers they may need to contact when reporting science stories.

How scientist-journalist ‘speed dating’ works

The process works by the scientists and journalists spending five minutes in each other’s company. After introductions are made and contact details exchanged, the journalists ask three questions: What is your most recent research? What was your most important finding? What are the implications of that finding to society?

Where there are no findings yet, the researchers are asked what how they expect their research to benefit society.

Dr Charles Wendo, SciDev.Net’s training coordinator, who facilitated the scientist-journalist ‘speed dating’ session, said, “The session is always an exciting and fruitful event. It brings together the two groups to meet, greet and talk about research findings. It’s a win-win because both researchers and journalists come out of it feeling they have made useful connections.”

Harnessing the power of storytelling for research communication

At the SGCI Annual Forum, Dr Wendo also delivered a science communication workshop on the topic “Harnessing the power of storytelling to enhance dissemination and research uptake of public funded research.”

The workshop was presented at the Academic Symposium as part of a session exploring training for researchers funded by the SGCI. It was moderated by Dr Prudence Makhura, Director for Overseas Collaborative Grants and Initiatives at the National Research Foundation, South Africa.

Since its inception in 2018 at the Next Einstein Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, SciDev.Net’s Script has provided training to nearly 9,000 people either directly in person or online.

Featured courses, produced by Dr Wendo, include ‘Science communication skills for journalists,’ ‘Science communication skills for press officers’ and ‘Media skills for scientists.’