Science Journalism-Building Public Engagement in Science

Research and innovation have been acknowledged as key factors in meeting the numerous challenges of our time, such as energy supply, food security, health and mobility, environmental changes, etc.

Science journalism is a fascinating field that sits at the intersection of science and storytelling. Its primary goal is to communicate scientific findings, discoveries, and advancements to the general public in an accurate, engaging, and accessible manner.

“I saw on TV,”  “I heard on the radio,” and “I read in the newspaper” are phrases that catch our attention. In the 21st century, mass media has become the most influential medium for communicating with large numbers of individuals. News is the building block that helps us to construct an understanding of the world we live in, and science and technology (SandT) are the principal dynamics in shaping tomorrow’s world.

Research and innovation have been acknowledged as key factors in meeting the numerous challenges of our time, such as energy supply, food security, health and mobility, environmental changes, etc. Being key challenges, the public and policymakers must be provided with the information that is mandatory to call science and technology to account.

For this reason, there is an increasing need for independent science journalists and science communicators to interpret, explain, and comment on the results of scientific research and technological development.

Globally, the public communication of science journalism is expanding rapidly as a professional and academic field. In developed countries, science journalism is accelerating because of advances in information and communication technology (ICT) that facilitate scientific and methodological reporting, and scientists are reaching the public and policymakers through blogs and social media tools.

Momentarily, Pakistan has made phenomenal progress in SandT and ICT in the past two decades. On the other hand, to what extent science and scientific knowledge are transmitted to the common masses remains a tricky question in Pakistan.

Science journalism appears to be flourishing in developing countries, and journalists are now operating a new science-media ecosystem where scientists and journalists are providing original discoveries directly to the general public instead of going through the official publishing process.

Science services made the first sustained effort at gathering and disseminating consistently credible, engaging, and understandable news about science and emerging technologies to a nationwide audience through the easily accessible mainstream media. The emerging field of science journalism sought to produce a science-minded public able to appreciate and be willing to support and understand science, technology, and scientific research.

Because of the importance of SandT, it is important that science journalists show how science actually works. That goes beyond just editorials about remarkable expansions in science but includes information about the organisations and funding of scientific research too. Scientific writing, or science journalism, remains embryonic in Pakistan, and there are many dimensions to the problems.

Unfortunately, large segments of the population do not even have access to scientific knowledge due to illiteracy and the absence of a critically planned science policy for the dissemination of scientific knowledge to non-scientific communities.

Although Pakistan’s engagement in scientific activities is multiplying and diversifying, science journalism is very limited, and mainstream media coverage on issues related to SandT is alarmingly poor and limited. Conversely, the low priority given to science journalism in the mainstream media is also deeply rooted in the country’s journalism history.

The idea is that, to be successful, a technology must meet local needs, conditions, and resources for social development. I would say there is definitely a future for science journalism in Pakistan. There is a need for scientific reporting about developments in science and technology, including science policy and science funding.

Last but not least, a multi-prolonged strategy is required to make science journalism effective in our society, for that scientific platform should be created to engage scientists and media practitioners to have close discourse on issues relating to scientific and technological developments in Pakistan.