Written by Darnell Isla
Illustration by Cedric David Cortez
Published 5 March 2022
Aiming to intensify science communication through journalism, the Ateneo Biological Organization (BOx) staged a three-part writing workshop via Zoom on February 18, 23, and March 2, 2022.
HELIX Editor-in-Chief and AVP for Publications Renz Trovela stressed the importance of practicing science communication in a time of rampant misinformation. She also added that the workshops, which recorded 32 attendees, highlights inclusivity to urge members in becoming science communicators.
“I personally think that holding science-related writing workshops for our members is a great opportunity for them not only to learn about the conventions of science journalism, but also to communicate science concepts more effectively for the people,” Trovela said.
Former HELIX News Editor Joi Muñoz, FlipScience Co-founder Mikael Francisco, and The GUIDON EIC Tatiana Maligro led the discussions as the HELIX Writing Workshop Series tackled the basics of journalism through the lens of news, science, and opinion writing for the second consecutive year.
Forwarding public interests
Francisco expressed that science journalism intends to spark a positive change by influencing communities to make evidence-based decisions. He also warned the attendees about misleading headlines, reminding them the dangers of oversimplifying and sharing unverified pieces of information in science communication.
For the Merit Awardee during the Asian Scientist Writing Prize in 2018, writers “inform, inspire, and move” among others as he mentioned local and international initiatives driven by science communication.
Meanwhile, the Loyola Schools Leadership and Service Awardee in 2020, Maligro, also highlighted the role of opinion writing in bridging the gap between the academe and its readers. She discussed that opinion articles allow non-STEM majors to contribute in ongoing discourses regarding developments in the community.
“Opinion writing aims to give insight and a human taste to a fact-based field of science communication,” Maligro, who also urged participants to include recommendations in their articles, added.
Promoting science inclusivity
Francisco, who co-founded FlipScience to encourage Filipinos in reading about science, emphasized the significance of stimulating public curiosity to increase participation in science communication and journalism.
In the context of BOx, Muñoz attributed the engagement of members in the organization’s activities to journalism, particularly to news writing. Moreover, the former AVP for Public Relations also recognized the contribution of science communication in reflecting the core values of the organization.
Aside from creating an avenue for members to hone their writing skills, the HELIX Writing Workshop Series also serves as a preparation for the release of this year’s second issue in April.