SjCOOP1 objectives were to (1) develop a network of professional science
journalists in Africa, North Africa and in the Middle East; (2) put in
place national and regional associations of science journalists; and (3)
strengthen the World Federation of Science Journalists as a supportive
partner of science journalists in the developing world.
In 2009, at the end of SjCOOP, networks of science journalists are now
in place in Africa and in the Arab World. Each network is made of one
regional association complemented by national associations. The African
network includes nine national associations (6 created by SjCOOP) with a
total membership of 408 journalists. The Arab network is mainly
represented by a pan-Arab association with two national associations
(created through SjCOOP) representing some 215 journalists.
The 32 journalists who succeeded the SjCOOP training, and the African
and Arab SjCOOP coordinators and mentors who participated in providing
the training, now represent the hard core of these two networks of
professional science journalists in Africa and in the Arab World. They
work in 17 African countries (Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo (RDC),
Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Zambia) and 5 Arab
countries (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon).
While supported by SjCOOP, these journalists have created the first
pan-African science magazine, five new science TV programs, six new
science radio programs, and seven new science beats in newspapers,
magazines and news agencies. Fifteen of them have been promoted by their
editors because of their new skills. Seventeen now freelance
internationally. Their professionalism has been recognized by 44 prizes,
awards, scholarships and internships awarded to 22 of them.
This hard core of African and Arab science journalists has learned to
work together, across the frontiers of their respective countries,
reporting on a few regional issues in 'transborders' articles. They
have also established contacts with editors to publish these stories.
They now use internet technologies like Skypechats and Skypecasts to
keep in touch with scientists and colleagues. Through SjCOOP, they have
introduced Skype news conferences with scientists in their respective
Seven SjCOOP journalists have contributed to create the first ever
online course in science journalism (8 lessons available in Arabic,
English, French, and now in Portuguese and Spanish). The course is being
used in universities. Two SjCOOP journalists have become professors of
science journalism in universities in Egypt and Madagascar.
Five of the associations have organized their own conferences, workshops
and training activities with SjCOOP support. This was done for the first
time in Rwanda and Uganda. Several have done so in close collaboration
with local science departments and academies.
With SjCOOP's conclusion, the African and Arab science journalists,
individually and through their associations, are now active members of
the world community of science journalists. Twelve associations from the
developing world are now official members of the World Federation of
Science Journalists and eight are twinned with associations in Asia,
Europe and North America. This new global network in science journalism
creates an incentive for better reporting and increased recognition of
science journalists in the developing world.
World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), 105 pp.