Science and Communication

Last October 13 of this year, starting from twelve noon, the Alternative Class Learning Experience ( ACLE) was held throughout the campus of UP Diliman. As part of completing my requirements in my Science, Technology and Society (STS) course, I went to the College of Mass Communication to listen to a lecture regarding science and media. The lecture will be counted as an enrichment activity.

The lecture was in a room. I believe the room can accommodate at least 30 students without adding more chairs and in a corner an air conditioner was installed. A projector, which was used for the lecture, was in between the white board and the first row of seats.

When I entered the room, it was already crowded . Moreover, the number of attendees were still increasing as time passed by. The organizers, who was probably caught off guard by the crowd of students, hastily brought additional seats. However, it was not enough. Some of the audience sat on the ground as the lecture started.

Starting the lecture, the hosts called their speaker. She, if you ask me, is in her early twenties and has the height of an average Filipina. She currently works as a science journalist.

Her talk focused regarding the life of a science journalist. She said that it is difficult to insert science in our media as the higher ups in the media sees it as unprofitable. The lack of interest of the public makes it even more harder to spread some general information about what is happening in our science industry.

However, though she finds it frustrating, she still enjoys her work. First because she loves science and journalism. For me this situation it is not surprising to hear these words uttered. If you want to excel in your field, you must, to a certain degree, have the drive to see something interesting in your field. However, what interests me is this. In my opinion, science journalists here in the Philippines is quite a rare find. This was further supported by her statement.

She said that there are only three organizations which make science articles. These are the Philippine Science Journalist Association, Philippine Network of Environmental Journalist and Cyberpress. There are only a handful of members and most of them are old. Although there are recognitions being given to her from other countries, this is not enough to solve the current issue.

As you can see, on top of people inside the newsroom who has only a little or no interest in reporting science and also the uninterested public, people who are interested in this field are few and there are only a handful are going to continue what the older generation of science journalists started. With all these problems in hand, I could not help but admire her resolve to continue her present career. Probably this is her dream since she was little that resulted to the intensity of dedication she pours in her work.

Reflecting on what she said in her lecture, it is really gloomy when you realize that there is not so much attention given to science in our society. I believe this persists because we do not know how to start solving the problem – should we start reforming the media or start reforming the opinion of the public towards science. However, media stated to make its move by launching educational shows such as “Matanglawin” and “AHA!” which focuses in general information about science. Hope is not yet lost.

Raising the interest of the public in science has still got a long way to go. It may not end in the current generation and, in the worst case scenario, she (the speaker) may not be able to witness the day science is considered as a major portion in the mass media. However, I still believe there will be young people in the future who, in spite of these situations that may discourage them in pursuing this career (science journalism), will have the same, or even greater, dedication in improving the bridge between science and journalism.

Martinez, Bryan B.



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