Following an intensive strategy workshop, held from 1-3 February 2013, the South African Science Journalists' Association (SASJA) will bid for the 2015 World Federation of Science Journalists' Conference.
"Imagine an event which showcases South Africa to a group of global journalists thousands strong - not just as a tourism destination, but as a hub of science and technology," says Lynne Smit, president of SASJA, the organisation that represents science media practitioners in South Africa. "That's what hosting the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) conference would mean to us.
"We have heard that Kenya is also bidding to be the first African country to host this prestigious event, but we feel confident that we have an excellent chance of winning the bid."
International twinning exercise
The association will be exploring partnership options with its international twin, the Dutch Association of Science Journalists to prepare the bid, which will be presented at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki in June 2013.
"Science media practitioners have a crucial role to play today, as science and technology become integrated into daily life," says Smit. "Our purpose as an organisation is to support them and to work towards high quality science and technology reporting that is imbued with a sense of responsibility to both the science community and the lay public."
The association's board, elected late last year, is a group representing a wide range of science media practice, with a comprehensive and rich collection of skills and experience. With a two-year term ahead of them, the board will be implementing its new programmes while bidding for the WFSJ Conference and says Smit confidently, organising the 2015 event.
Cosmopolitan and thoroughly South African
"We have high-powered backing for our bid from a number of key stakeholders. It is going to be a very rewarding event for everyone involved. We are planning a conference with a flavour that is both cosmopolitan and thoroughly South African.
It will be an unequalled opportunity for African journalists to network with their global peers and offer the science community a valuable chance to interact with the media worldwide and gain an insight into the fast-changing world of science media practice."
SASJA invites South African science media practitioners to join the association and be part of South Africa's WFSJ Conference 2015. For more, go to www.sasja.org.
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