The Science and Technology Youth Journalism Programme was implemented to promote interest in science and technology among disadvantaged youth. 

  

Given that community media tends to report mainly on crime, politics and sport, it was decided to expand the range of subject matter to cover science and technology. 

 

The Department of Science and Technology appointed the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) to implement the programme.  SAASTA's mandate is to advance public awareness of science, engineering, and technology in South Africa,

 

 

Launched in February 2016, the programme has been successfully implemented in partnership with various community media.  Outcomes of the project include the following:

 

  • Enhanced interest in science and technology in communities.
  • Recognition of indigenous and grassroots innovation existing in communities, and capturing this information in a database.
  • Recognition of the positive impact of demonstrated technologies on communities.
  • Basic science journalism skills for the youth. Candidates are evaluated at the beginning of the programme and on leaving the programme. Supervisors/mentors are also evaluated. 
  • Enhanced understanding of the importance of science and technology, and interest in innovation.

 

The Science and Technology Youth Journalist Programme is being implemented in district municipalities where other Innovation Partnerships for Rural Development Programme (IPRDP) demonstration projects had been carried out. It is aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who live in these communities, as well as unemployed graduates with qualifications in science, engineering, communications and journalism.

 

 

Seventeen interns were appointed in 2015/16.  The number was increased to 34 interns during the 2016/17 financial year, and a further 28 interns were placed in 2017/18.  Among other things, interns document the highlights and report on the progress of projects implemented by the IPRDP.

 

 

Their responsibilities include compiling, organising and conducting interviews; writing, producing and compiling stories and documentaries; news reporting and writing; and the editing of radio clips.  The programme has provided practical experience and on-the-job training.

The project has dramatically increased science reporting in community media, which has benefited from an increased listenership. 
 

The interns have introduced science slots in community media and are engaged in other community media activities, developing their skills beyond science journalism.  They have also been exposed to various skills development initiatives, including workshops on the principles of layout and mobile video editing.  By the end of March 2017, the programme had produced the following:

 

  • 761 media items.
  • 100 IPRDP stories.
  •           361 general science and technology stories.
  •           300 general stories.
  •           An increase in the number of IPRDP stories.

 

Importantly, the use of indigenous languages gained momentum.

 

The enthusiasm and hard work of the interns has seen them receive accolades within their community media stations, including a nomination for best newsreader.  One intern started a radio phone-in initiative called "Science for Ubuntu". Given the success of the programme, it will be expanded to other provinces such as Gauteng and the Northern Cape. A new incentive has also been introduced; the best performing interns will have the opportunity to attend an accredited radio, print and/or television short course at a reputable university.

 

For more information contact:

South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement

www.saasta.ac.za

+27 12 392 9300

 

  Youth Journalism Video