Amid the unexpected challenges of the ‘post-truth era’, this series highlights the dual importance of research and narratives for policymaking and media reporting. In so doing, it aims to build both capacity and networks between scientists, journalists and policymakers, particularly in emerging economies.
UNU-MERIT has so far delivered six workshops for around 300 participants across Latin America, the Middle East, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Recent partners include UNESCO, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), plus sister institutes in Germany (UNU-EHS), Ghana (UNU-INRA), and Malaysia (UNU-IIGH).
Why ‘Reach and Turn’? Because we aim to inform, persuade and even change mindsets — as shown in our institutional trailer. To this end, our workshops have featured a BBC presenter who spoke on science literacy, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who focused on data storytelling, and a Dutch ambassador (and Maastricht University alumnus) who covered ‘Twiplomacy’ and social media. Our workshops have also featured hands-on training with infographics, reverse press conferences, and a series of ‘hackathons’.
‘Now more than ever we need scientists… to counterweight 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, 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 reamins 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 (INDICASAT), 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
Tres días muy productivos en #Panamá🇵🇦. Gran taller de comunicación de la ciencia ¡Gracias por todo colegas! / And that’s a wrap of #ReachAndTurn, an awesome #SciComm workshop organized by @UNUMERIT & @senacyt. Thanks for the invitation & the incredible exchanges! pic.twitter.com/VzeNCCPhKu
— Dante Licona (@Dante_Licona) October 19, 2018