During the last decade, I have worked as a media trainer in many international training workshops for broadcasters. I had conducted several workshops on science, health etc. for broadcast professionals outside India. In the past few years, I conducted such workshops for media professionals, media faculty, media students and science activists within India. Thus I have perfected the content and pitch for different target groups.
This page gives details of a workshop offered to Masters students in journalism and/or mass communication departments in India. This series of workshops were designed after a rapid assessment of journalism courses in India. The review based on specific case studies is available here – Journalism and Communication coursesReview
Aims and objectives
This workshop is designed to build the capacity of students to deal with science and related applied areas such as technology, health, agriculture and environment. Presently these areas do not get adequate attention in the curricula and syllabus of Mass Communication / Journalism departments. And knowledgeable and experienced faculty to tackle these issues are also not easily available. The workshop aims to overcome these limitations.
Target group and strategies
It is preferred to have a maximum of 14 participants, in the second year of the Masters course.
The e-mail ids should be provided one month in advance to make the workshop optimally useful. A e-discussion group will be formed consisting of all students who want to attend the workshop. Many relevant documents, resources and links will be shared in the group before the workshop. This helps orient and prime the participants to the workshop.
Many of the students in Journalism and Mass Media have been traumatised by science in their educational career and therefore certain preconceived notions about science have to be overcome. The e-discussion group helps to identify the problem areas faced by individual participants before the face-to-face workshop begins The relevant knowledge inputs related to politics, economics, sociology, history, methodology and philosophy of science necessary deal with science in media are provided. Links to knowledge resources related journalism, mass media, etc. are also provided during this time. I also use the forum to initiate discussions on various issues to influence the attitudes and values of the participants.
This is followed by a short, intensive and immersive course delivered in a participatory workshop mode in twenty two 90 minute sessions spanning five and a half days. The workshop aims to build skills and tweak the attitudes necessary for a student to pursue reporting science and related areas like health or environment.
Besides PowerPoint presentations, the workshop will have discussions (which have been primed by the e-discussion group formed earlier), demonstration, exercises, role plays and games, practice in groups and as individuals, During the face to face workshop, all participants must have computers with broadband connection for practising some of the tricks and also to use the tools that I would be introducing and demonstrating during the workshop.
At the end of the workshop, there will be articles/ scripts / blog entries / news items/ with scientific content written by the participants as the output of the workshop.
The cyber group will continue to function for one month after the workshop where more resources will be shared. The platform will be used to mentor the participants with the necessary aptitudes for science communication, to improve the intended outcome of the workshop, namely, a little more science in Indian media. A little less anti-science attitude amongst the public.
Observers and stakeholders
Interested faculty members and PhD scholars will be allowed to attend the workshop as observers. But during the sessions of the workshop, these categories of people should not intervene in discussions and interactions. However, all the materials used in the workshop (and more) will be shared with the observers so that they can adopt or adapt my materials and methods and use them in the coming years for training other young media professionals.
Interactions with PhD scholars may take place during the lunch and tea breaks and questions related to media and communication that need to be tackled through rigorous research will be discussed.
Discussion with faculty on syllabus, curriculum, teaching methodologies and tools may also be arranged after the workshop in the afternoon of the sixth day,
The costs of conducting the workshop would include –
1. Travel and conveyance costs for one person from Pune to location of the workshop in India
2. Accommodation costs (for two people, since my wife will be traveling and staying with me)
3. Facilities for the workshop – computers (or laptops of the participants) with broadband connection, projector with screen, flip chart with permanent markers (or whiteboard and whiteboard markers), biggest paste-it-pads available, big brown paper to paste the paste-it-notes during discussions and games, felt pens to write on paste-it-notes…
4. Honoraria: In a university department setting, it is appropriate to consider it a 36 hour course. So it could be considered 36 lectures in the traditional sense. Since the concept of guest lectures are common, I suppose the department would have precedence and hence the required procedures in place.
However, I will not be lecturing all these hours. Demonstrations, practice by participants, discussions, games, etc. will also be used to transact the content. Moreover, there is a component of online training inputs provided to the participants.
I am usually happy with whatever I get since this is one of the tasks that I have set for myself to do. If I had money I would offer it universities to allow me to do these workshops. 🙂
Workshop on Science Communication for students of ASAS Kochi, August 2015
A workshop Science Communication in MBL Media School, Kozhikode 14-20 September
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