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Regional News of Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Source: GNA

CSIR, media share best practices in science and technology reporting

Some journalists in a group photograph Some journalists in a group photograph

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to build stronger relations with the media, has organized a training workshop for some journalists in the Ashanti Region on agriculture, science, and technology reporting.

The workshop was aimed at equipping journalists to understand the language and terminologies of Science and Technology for effective communication between scientists and the media.

A statement issued by CSIR and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday said the workshop helped both parties to share knowledge on how to effectively disseminate scientific and agricultural outputs for the benefit of end-users.

It said the training was supported by the Canadian Government through the Modernization of Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) program implemented by CSIR, Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Local Government, and Rural Development and Finance.

MAG is a budgetary support program extended to Ghana by the Government of Canada and provides resources to support the delivery of agricultural advisory services to subsistence farmers and farmer groups in Ghana.

“The ultimate outcome [of MAG] is a more modern, equitable, and sustainable agricultural sector that contributes to food security,” the statement said.

The Head of Corporate Affairs at CSIR, Ms. Benedicta Nkrumah-Boateng, speaking on the topic “CSIR and The Media, Our Powerful past, our promising present, our prosperous future,” reiterated CSIR’s interest in developing stronger relations with the media with the creation of a Media Corps “Ambassadors”.

“The process has started with selected media houses in Accra and following this engagement, “Ambassadors” will be established for the Middle and Northern sectors of Ghana,” she said adding that, “Together, we will work to educate the public about technologies, innovations, and services provided by CSIR”.

She said a recently launched Digitized Soil Maps of Ghana by CSIR had reduced the dependency on analog maps, which were open to the vagaries of rodents chewing the maps, and the need to have large and secure rooms for storage.

Prior to this, she added, information was also not easily accessible with end-users having to be physically present in order to access them.

Understanding the nomenclature of CSIR was presented by Communications Advisor CSIR/MAG Mr. Donald Gwira, who shared a list of 101 acronyms commonly used by CSIR, according to the statement.

“This list should act as a guide when writing in the context of CSIR and its related field since acronyms can have different meanings depending on the context,” he said.

Adding for instance, “CID - Criminal Investigation Division or Commercialization Information Division in CSIR context; DMC - Devil May Cry (video Game) or Directors’ Management Committee (CSIR); MAG – Aunty Maggie or Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (CSIR)”.

The statement said during the session for sharing of best practices in Science Technology Information and Agriculture Research, journalists were asked to seek early clarification from CSIR when disseminating related information.

CSIR Scientists also need to train or educate media men and women once a year, most especially vernacular stations on how to report Science and Technology information.

It was also said CSIR could organize facility visits for the media houses to get to know what they do in those facilities and to help create awareness.

It added that some journalists advocated for institutes to buy or negotiate or barter air time so as to explain their numerous jargon and share their technologies, innovations, and services to the public.

The statement said the Multimedia group had designated days during the week to discuss science, technology, agriculture, and innovation, and encouraged other media houses to follow suit to promote science, technologies, innovations, and services to end-users.

Journalists were advised that there was no shame in sharing stories and asking subject matter experts to read over, stressing, “Indeed, a story that is well written and published without recourses to rejoinders are the best way to go”.

It was further suggested that CSIR Institutes should make it a practice of inviting journalists on field trips to learn more and appreciate issues of the industry.

The discussion stressed the usefulness of Facts Sheets and Frequently Answered Questions as it aided reporters in writing improved stories about specialized subject areas.