Amid the many challenges of the ‘post-truth era’, this series champions the best of evidence-based storytelling — above all for policymaking and media reporting. In doing so, it aims to build capacity and networks between scientists, journalists and policymakers, particularly in emerging economies.
UNU-MERIT has so far delivered nine workshops for around 450 participants in Latin America, West Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with among others our sister institutes in Germany (UNU-EHS), Ghana (UNU-INRA), Malaysia (UNU-IIGH) and Venezuela (UNU-BIOLAC), as well as the UNU Office of Communications (UNU-OC) in Japan.
Our most recent event was held on 7 April 2020, marking World Health Day, in partnership with Nature India and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our 10th event is now set for 23 April 2021, as the opening act of the CILAC Open Science Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean, in partnership with UNESCO in the presence of 40 ministers from 25 countries.
Why ‘Reach and Turn’? Because we aim to inform, persuade and change mindsets — as shown in our institutional trailer. To this end, our workshops have featured a BBC presenter on science literacy, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist on data storytelling, and a Dutch ambassador on social media. We have also led hands-on training with infographics, reverse press conferences, and a series of ‘hackathons’.
‘Now more than ever we need scientists… as a counterweight to people who spread fake news.’
Dirk Janssen, Dutch Ambassador to Panama
‘This workshop is very important because it allows us to fulfill our joint mandate to ensure that science, technology and innovation are working in the service of our communities and our peoples, and because it ensures there is interaction between science and the community… It is an opportunity to start a dialogue.’
Dr. Lidia Brito, UNESCO Regional Director of Science for Latin America and the Caribbean
‘It’s really broadened my horizons and I think I’ve become a better journalist… The format has been amazing. These researchers are nigh on impossible to reach and to have a plethora of them that I can actually talk to has been wonderful!’
Ekow Dontoh, Bloomberg News, Ghana
‘I saw that journalists are much more interested in science than I thought… This platform has given us the opportunity to partner and ensure that our work has a better reach.’
Henrietta Asiedu, Conservation Alliance, Ghana
‘Scientists and journalists serve very different audiences and work to very different deadlines. Yet, if the two sides can understand and trust one another, they can truly serve the public interest.’
Netta Ahituv, Senior Correspondent & Editor, Haaretz News, Israel
‘The workshop has been fantastic for me …[it] has given me confidence in terms of my own abilities in what I can achieve and how I can communicate my work better and more effectively.’
Dr. Nicola Pocock, Researcher, UNU-IIGH, Malaysia
‘The research we do, particularly in global health, has to be communicated. It is absolutely of no value to anyone if it remains with the researchers.’
Prof. Pascale Allotey, Director, UNU-IIGH, Malaysia
‘I have learned the way journalists think, which is very different from us researchers… This has been a life-changing experience for me because I have learned a lot of new things.’
Sara Rosero, Institute of Scientific Research and High Technology Services, Panama
‘I look at the way the course was delivered and it was brilliant…To be able to put all these actors together and think of a common purpose and be able to deliver a concise message was amazing. We need to replicate this.’
Gladys Bernett, University of South Florida
– Global views, immersive platforms: Weighing outreach from 2019
– Conspiracy theories: How belief is rooted in evolution – not ignorance
– The fifth element of communications: Adding journalistic flair to academic rigour
– Dissecting our work on the web: Busting myths and tracking impact through data
– The anatomy of communications: From the backstory to the frontline