Prescription for Development

The journey starts here.

Five months have passed. Two weeks to go, and this semester would be put to end. Hurray! But then, it seems that there is still a LOT of things to do. Truly, this would be our “longest two weeks.”

DEVC122, Science Reporting, has been one of the things that add up to the “long two weeks,” to the workload– torturing us with science concepts, singing with us the novena of clear and effective writing, and giving us a lot of heartbreaks whenever we receive our edited papers. But if I’m going to asses myself, and of course, the course itself (hahaha), what has been added to me after taking DEVC122? And, as a development communicator under training, what is it with me? What is it with Communication? What is it with Development?

Well, let me give you some things that I think happened after DEVC122:

1. The wheels in my head: ACTIVATED

I’ve taken up DEVC20 (Fundamentals of Development Journalism), and other writing courses. But what is it about DEVC122 that made it stand out? Let’s first discuss the knowledge part of DEVC122. We first define science (since it is a course titled Science Reporting), and later introduce to us the need for science writers. Characteristics of a good science writer were also discussed. Statistics applied to science writing were briefly explained. This subject also tackles levels of scientific information, and the how to’s of personality sketch, science news and science magazine features. In general, DEVC122 stands out because it is, literally, a “marriage of communication (or journalism, I should say) and science (this phrase was said somewhere in an article written by Dr. Gelia Castillo). With DEVC20, and other journalism subjects under the course, you process the topics that could be found anything under the sun. But with DEVC122, it has its bias on science. You are mastering the skills in writing effectively, while knowing science concepts at the same time. Cool, right?

2. The art of war

In journalism, you must have the right angle, the right writing style, and just the right layout and appeal for the readers to notice your article. If you don’t have the following, then other articles would outshine your work. Pressured nay? Well, double the pressure to science writers, since they are dealing with science topics. They are obliged to make a seemingly “boring” topic as interesting as possible. Honestly, it is really a struggle for me to write accurately, and at the same time, with a “sexy” angle; meaning, interesting, creative, and catchy. But then, I am very thankful to this course because it really challenged my lazy being to think of other ways to effectively present my data. It is now a challenge for aspiring science writers to balance accuracy and readability. Well, I admit I have not mastered in yet. But I’m a work in progress!

3. Cramming is the last option.

Cram or you’ll never see the light of day (Evil laugh).

In this course, cramming is a no-no. Based from experience, cramming could ruin a masterpiece. God did not create man on the first day. An ant does not gather food to store during the rainy season. It took a seed 80 to 100 days before becoming a fully-grown corn. And a mother bears a child on her womb for nine months. You see, every masterpiece takes time to be a “masterpiece”. A professor in one of my subjects said that a work is like a chick, and must be put into incubation, so that on the right time, it would be good for harvest, good to be sold, good for the market. For example, the deadline of an article is on Friday. You could start to work on it on Monday. After that, you could check the article you’ve written on Wednesday for further polishing, before you submit it on Friday. That’s incubation.

Well, that’s what I’ve learned, since some of my articles are not fully-polished because it is labored only within 24 hours of submission. But then, I hope I would find it in my heart to apply it into practiceJ. But crammers, do not be disheartened. I am not encouraging you to always cram but still, I believe that it is also good if you are a good and effective crammer (hahaha). It is because if the situation demands it (You never know), then cramming could come in handy.

4. For the love of science and communication

I took Science Communication as my major because I was intrigued of what it is really about. As the time goes by, I am actually starting to love my major. “I made a right choice, after all.” Same with DEVC122, after taking the course, I appreciate more the communication of science with the general public. I also see the need to fill the gaps between the experts and the laymen.

I have more to add but time does not permit anymore me since I’m going to cram a paper for another subject (hahaha). Kidding aside, I just want to add more on DEVC122 in DevCom work. Dr. Nora C. Quebral, the mother of Development Communication defined the field as the “science of human communication linked to the transitioning of communities from poverty in all its form to a dynamic, overall growth that fosters equity and the unfolding of human potential (2010).” I believe that DEVC122 is a one of the good tools to satisfy this definition. Knowledge of science was always equated to development. Based from the following experts, science:

–       Is “striking shackles of ignorance and superstitions” (Timothy Ferris, 2009, of National Association of Science Writers)

–       Had “ten-fold increase in the standard of living of developed countries.” (Dr. W. Haque)

–       “[S& T ]applied by a country’s industries is highly correlated with its productivity competitiveness, and growth.” (DOST Sec. Ceferino Follosco)

DevCom is for “transitioning” of people for the betterment. And one way to do that is through science journalism. I am very thankful for this course. I’ve learned a lot of things– from the theories to application. Maybe one thing that I would suggest is that next time, I hope they would invite a speaker (a practicing science writer) that would discuss how is it to be a science writer. I hope that lower batches that have not yet taken DEVC122 but are planning to take it, would enjoy it as much as I did. As DevCom student, there are a lot for me to learn to be able to fully “unfold the human potential.” Science Reporting is one way of doing it. The journey does not end here.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

This article was inspired by this quotation:

“We’ve arranged a global civilization in which critical elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster.” –Carl Sagan, 1999

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