“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