2013 Quiz

This quiz is open to all, and new or existing SASJA members that have paid their membership fees for 2014 can win a great selection of books, including Leonie Joubert’s Scorched: South Africa’s Changing Climate and Sarah Wild’s Searching African Skies.


The quiz will run into 2014 and the winner will be announced in February 2014.

Here are the membership options and prices if you join SASJA before the end of 2013:

Full membership: R300 per annum
Associate membership: R250 per annum
Student Membership: R100 per annum
Corporate membership: R600 per annum

Visit http://sasja.org/membership/ for more information on joining or renewing your membership.

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SASJA on the way to World Conference in Helsinki

At least seven members of SASJA are on our way to the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki – starting June 24!

The Conference website http://wcsj2013.org/ and on twitter @WCSJ2013

As you know SASJA is bidding to host the next WCSJ in 2015. Lynne and others will be presenting the bid proposal to the powers that be in Helsinki on Monday 24 June 12 noon –11 am here. That’s when you should start watching your Twitter feeds for news of the bid, and then for all the other news that will come from the conference through next week, as several of us are involved in the presentations and panel discussions. Here are the Twitter handles you should be following:

SASJA – @SasjaSA
Lynne Smit – @wheatlands
Adele Baleta – @adelebaleta
Anina Mumm – @aninja_m
Engela Duvenage – @engelbriewe
Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla – @bb_aisha
Deborah-Fay Ndlovu – @deborahndlovu
Colleen Dawson – @ColleenDawson1

Please follow all our news as we represent you in Helsinki!

South Africa to bid for the 2015 World Federation of Science Journalists’ Conference

“Imagine an event which showcases South Africa to a group of global journalists thousands strong – not just as a tourism destination, but especially as a hub of science and technology,” says Lynne Smit, President of SASJA, the organisation which represents science media practitioners (SMPs) in South Africa. “That’s what hosting the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) conference would mean to us.

“We have heard that Kenya is also bidding to be the first African country to host this prestigious event, but we feel confident that we have an excellent chance of winning the bid.”

The decision to bid for the conference, which is to be held in the third quarter of 2015, was taken at an intensive strategy workshop which SASJA held from 1-3 February 2013.

SASJA will be exploring partnership options with its international twin, the Dutch Association of Science Journalists to prepare the Bid which will be presented at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki in June.
“SMPs have a crucial role to play today, as science and technology become integrated into daily life,” says Smit. “Our purpose as an organisation is to support SMPs and to work towards high quality science and technology reporting that is imbued with a sense of responsibility to both the science community and the lay public. During a stimulating and thought-provoking workshop, we came up with programmes and projects that will provide SMPs with relevant and exciting resources, as well as guidance to underpin their work.”

SASJA’s board, elected late last year, is a group representing a wide range of science media practice, with a comprehensive and rich collection of skills and experience.

With a two-year term ahead of them, the board will be implementing its new programmes while bidding for the WFSJ Conference and of course, Smit says confidently, organising the 2015 event.

“We have high-powered backing for our bid from a number of key stakeholders. It is going to be a very rewarding event for everyone involved,” she says. “We are planning a conference with a flavour that is both cosmopolitan and thoroughly South African.
It will be a fantastic opportunity for South and African journalists to network with their global peers. It will also offer the science community a valuable chance to interact with the media worldwide, and gain an insight into the fast-changing world of science media practice.”

SASJA invites South African science media practitioners to join the association and be part of South Africa’s WFSJ Conference 2015.

Issued by SASJA

Mandi Smallhorne, Communications Portfolio, SASJA

Gauteng report for 2012

Marina Joubert was our regional representative in Gauteng for 2012. Here is what she reports on activities from the Gauteng region for 2012:

Membership drive:
We tried really hard to grow the number of SASJA members in Gauteng. New corporate members that joined during the year include Wits and SAASTA, and several individual members.

Several Gauteng members (myself, Wiida, Mandi and others) participated in a workshop organised by Pedro Diederichs of SANEF/TUT on “The Media and Science: a partnership” held on 11 April 2012 at TUT Pretoria campus.
As with all other science and media events, we used this opportunity to tell science journalists about SASJA.

I represented SASJA at a “SA Biotech and Media Dialogue” held on 16 May 2012 in Midrand. This full-day event was organised by AfricaBio, and included a short presentation on science journalism in SA and the role of SASJA.

I represented SASJA at a CSIR workshop on “Reporting the science of climate change” held 4 & 5 June 2012. SASJA membership forms were handed out to all the delegates.

A very successful networking meeting of Gauteng SASJA members was hosted by the CSIR on 10 October 2012 as part of their “Real Problems Relevant Solutions” conference. It was attended by the following ten members: Anina Mumm, Greer van Zyl, Colleen Dawson, Wiida Basson, Ina van der Linde, Ina Roos, Shirona Patel, Kanina Foss, Ginny Stone and Marina Joubert. We also met Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication, and she was very interested in the activities of SASJA and keen on promoting science journalism/communication in the country. We identified Gauteng members willing to serve on the SASJA Executive (they have been nominated), and, following the meeting, Colleen Dawson drafted a letter to send to potential new members (sent to SASJA Executive on 11 October 2012). The meeting identified the need for a more dynamic and appealing website and social media strategy as an important requirement/tool for attracting new members.

Western Cape report for 2012

Adele Baleta was our regional representative for 2012. This is what she had to report:

Whatever has been achieved in the Western Cape has been a result of team work.

Some of the events covered included:
A seminar was held where SASJA journalists and others were invited to a University of the Free State seminar on food security. The presentation was excellent giving an overview of the issues but also up to day statistics that proved to be useful for our members.

Prior to the Olympics, members and prospective members were given an insight into the world of drug testing of athletes and the classification of para-Olympians by two researchers from the University of the Free State. One of our members produced an in-depth article after the well attended meeting.

Data mining and journalism was the topic of innovative ways of viewing science, research and capturing information that already exists.

The planned trip out to sea has not happened partly due to weather conditions. We have had a wet and windy winter and although, there are promises of sunshine, it’s raining today. We leave this prospect in the capable hands of the new committee.

Time and effort was put into looking at establishing closer links with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement. Several meetings held to find media platforms for collaborations such as the training of science journalist. There were discussions about the possibility of holding a science reporters conference.

Membership has increased in the Western Cape partly due to the SASJA committee’s work, but also following the death of Christina. Obituaries on behalf of the organisation were written and used widely on the internet, in the Mail and Guardian and the South African Journal of Science.

Collaborative team work was done to try and secure the Scjoop Mentorship Programme Conference in Cape Town.

New executive board for 2013 – 2014

The newly elected board members had their first meeting in December 2012 and they were elected to the following portfolios:

  • President: Lynne Smit
  • Deputy President: Colleen Dawson
  • Treasurer: Wiida Fourie-Basson
  • Western Cape representative: Munyaradzi Makhoni
  • Gauteng Representative: Ina van der Linde
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: Niki Moore
  • Professional Development: This portfolio forms and integral part of each region, it is also the portfolio that will draw in new members and assist in making SASJA self sustainable. It was therefore decided that all three regional represenatative as well as Wiida Fourie-Basson and Anina Mumm will form a sub-committee. The sub-committee will meet and elect a team leader.
  • Social Media: This portfolio will also form a sub-committee with Carolina Odman-Govender and Anina Mumm.
  • Public relations, marketing and branding: Mandi Smallhorne

Congratulations to our new board – may you have many successes over the next two years!