Training TV/Radio producers, Journalism/Mass Communication faculty and students to deal with science and related subjects did not yield noticeable results. But training people with a Masters or PhD in Science had an immediate impact. So I had come to the conclusion that those who are trained in journalism may not be able to handle the complexities of science reporting. The fact that a dozen or so courses, even those on science journalism, including a Masters degree in Science and Technology Communication, have not increased the coverage of science in Indian media, seemed to confirm that view. However, I am now forced to revise my stance.
The workshop for students of Mass Communication and Journalism at ASAS, Kochi, surprised me. The students not only read recent scientific papers, but also wrote news reports based on those papers. And they came out with reasonably good reports. The problems that they had in writing were the same as those I had seen in reports written by people with a PhD. So it is time to revise my views.
Perhaps it is not the journalism background and the lack of inputs from scientific disciplines, but my own inability that led to lack of any significant impact on the reporting of science.
I have one more workshop in November with the same set of students – it is actually a paper in science communication that I have to teach, but I am doing it in the immersive workshop mode rather than using lecture mode. So I will have an opportunity to completely falsify my earlier belief.