PSciJourn President Inaugural Speech

The PSciJourn and Science Journalism

By Rafael R. Castillo, MD

I humbly accept this mandate to lead the PSciJourn this year. Angelo and the previous board of directors have done an excellent job in paving the way for the PSciJourn. The task of the new board is equally challenging to further strengthen the Association.

The PSciJourn, which is already one of the active members of the World Federation of Science Journalists, hopes to be able to answer some specific needs of science journalists and science journalism in the country. The Association shall remain steadfast in its mission to promote professional excellence in science journalism by providing educational resources, and opportunities for professional networking and collaborative undertakings among its members.

The PSciJourn shall promote standards to further improve the quality of science reporting in the country. The members individually and collectively in the PSciJourn shall help advance the reach of science journalism in the Philippines so it may serve as a bridge between our scientists and the public. The Association shall continue to strengthen the role of science journalists, not only as writers, editors or broadcasters, but as key players in civil society and nation building.

I think we all agree that science journalists can no longer be mere reporters of science or spokespersons of scientists, but rather, we must be thoughtful critics and commentators, translating the relevance of science and technology in layman’s terms to the daily life of ordinary persons, bringing the processes of research and discovery to the understanding of ordinary people, and making the public aware of the social, economic, and political context of science and technology, and its impact on society.

For this year, we hope to achieve the following:

1. Mission and Vision campaign: For an association to become more relevant and dynamic, all the members must know by heart what the mission and vision of the association are. Our mission, which I’ve stated at the outset, is the very core or foundation of our association. This is our reason for existence.

That is why it is explicitly expressed in our constitution and by-laws. We shall try to effectively communicate this to all members so it will be inculcated in our hearts and minds.

The vision, on the other hand, is what we want to achieve in the long term. It sets the direction of where we should be headed to, so we don’t run around in circles and ending up where we started.

Depending on what vision an association sets, one can determine how ambitious or passive an association is.

The leadership of the PSciJourn shall try to get everyone’s inputs on what we want to set as our vision. We can set the vision arbitrarily, but unless the individual members are also committed to the vision, then it becomes meaningless and will likely not be achieved.

2. Secondly, we shall have all amendments to our constitution and by-laws ratified within the year. Our constitution and by-laws form the backbone of our Association. We all swear to protect and defend our constitution and by-laws. If there are flaws or loopholes in our constitution and by-laws, then, that can drastically affect the growth and direction of our Association.

3. Thirdly, we will establish our own website ASAP. The Association shall maintain a website to share information about advances and trends in science journalism, to announce opportunities for training and networking for science journalists. The website shall also be a venue for the members to communicate with each other and share insights and ideas on how else we can make the PSciJourn more relevant to its members and more effective in the furtherance of science journalism.

4. Annual Convention: A major regular activity of the PSciJourn is the convening of all members annually which shall serve as a venue for educational programs and professional networking, and a forum for disseminating information about advances, achievements, opportunities, and trends in science journalism, as well as current issues, problems, and threats to the field and its practitioners.

5. We shall continue our annual Science Journalism Awards. We congratulate once again our first batch of awardees this year. The awards are aimed at promoting excellence in science writing.

Meritorious original articles written and published during the year will be duly recognized and the most deserving ones will be given an award. The awarding ceremonies will be one of the main highlights of the annual convention.

My dear fiends and colleagues, I have no doubt that the PSciJourn shall emerge to be a major force to reckon with in the field of science journalism in the country.

We hope that the general membership of the PSciJourn can wield a collective power and influence to encourage publishers and broadcast producers to dedicate more space and time to science and technology coverage and to lend support to the professional training of science journalists, especially our young provincial colleagues.

It is envisioned that the PsciJourn can play a role in promoting a new culture of science journalism, one that can cope with the challenges of the 21st century and live up to the science journalists’ shared responsibility in nation-building.

Only well-informed and educated people can understand the consequences of scientific issues, or the applications of research, so they can make an intelligent decision to support or reject them.

The PSciJourn shall be at the forefront to provide this kind of information to the public. And with our concerted effort, dedication and commitment, we can effectively play our role in bridging the gap between science & technology and the general public. May God’s blessings be upon us all as we undertake this mission.

Note: Speech delivered during the PSciJourn Board of Directors Oath taking last December 20, 2005 at GA Towers, EDSA Mandaluyong City.


1 Response to “PSciJourn President Inaugural Speech”

  1. 1 Rikki U. Poehler September 30, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

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