Africa Science Desk

Thank you for your interest in Africa Science Desk.
 
Science journalism is a “dying profession” due to the closure of science desks across the globe, and Africa is no exception. The result is a dearth of credible public information about science, which in turn produces poor public scientific literacy. Compounding effects are the disappearance of outlets by which scientists themselves gain expertise in areas outside their own fields and through which policymakers receive credible information on science.
 
In Africa, as elsewhere, science stories are overwhelmed by politics, sports and business news. The poor quality and quantity of science stories is exacerbated by a ‘formal training deficit’ on the continent, because few journalists have a science background. Moreover, stories are increasingly written from press releases without independent analysis or skeptical review. This leads to the unfortunate and ever-increasing practice of “churnalism”, whereby news organisations republish verbatim material sent by public relations agencies and commercial sources, undermining the credibility of science reporting.
 
Reinforcing and building science journalism in Africa is the focus of the Africa Desk Science, a two-year project being implemented by The African Academy of Sciences and the AUDA-NEPAD Agency’s Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa in with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
The project focuses on Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, with journalists from these countries being funded to produce TV documentaries, short web videos, explainers, short or long-form investigative reports and data stories aimed at local or global news markets.  Journalists will be paired with senior science journalists internationally and continentally who will provide the mentorship needed to improve the quality of science reporting.
 
Journalists and newsrooms are invited to submit pitches. They will be considered monthly through mid-2019 based on submission by the 5th of each month.
 

Journalists are invited to read the call for pitches  and frequently asked questions for more details.