Ateneo BOx stages three-day writing workshop to promote science communication

Article by  Darnell Isla
Illustration by Liana Libongco and Gino Delos Reyes
Published 2020 November 30

Highlighting bioeducation as one of the organization’s core values, the Ateneo BOx held a three-day writing workshop via Zoom to intensify science communication through journalism on Nov 4, 6, and 23, 2020.

Led by the VP for Secretariat and Publications Marcus Sahagun, the Writing Workshop Series, which also sought to create an avenue for the BOx members to hone their writing skills, recorded 85 participants.

AVP for Publications Mary Grace Catapang expressed that the journalism workshops aim to not only assist BOx members in writing, but also teach them to communicate science efficiently.  

“Through these workshops, we explored the basics, proper guidelines, and practical tips and tricks in journalism and science communication. As we continue to face problems that involve science such as the pandemic, typhoons, and climate change, learning how to communicate science is more important than ever. Hopefully, this inspired and encouraged our writers and BOx members to craft captivating and informative stories that highlight our organization’s advocacies,” Catapang said.  

The three-day event focused on news, science, and editorial writing as HELIX, the organization’s official publication, tapped The GUIDON News Editor Leika Mae Golez, FlipScience EIC Mikael Francisco, and former EIC of The GUIDON Michelle Abad to lead the lectures.

Initiating a move

Francisco discussed that science writing—despite being heavily dependent on facts—go beyond educating, as he explained that science communicators “inspire people to act.”

 Abad, who is currently working for Rappler, also added that opinion writing allows people to ponder upon the news they read and think about what to do next.

“You can’t just read a news article and leave it at that. Opinion articles assess what’s going on, try to figure out and make sense what to do next,” Abad said.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Francisco recognized the role of science communication to persuade people in joining movements, like practicing the suggested handwashing guidelines by the World Health Organization.

‘So what?’

Emphasizing the importance of significance in writing a science article, Francisco also mentioned the role of a science communicator to inform the masses by addressing what it is about, why it matters, and why the readers should care.

Similarly, Golez stated the need to highlight the newsworthiness, or to answer “so what?” to contextualize the basic details further and stress the relevance of the article.

“The speakers’ personal experiences in writing, specifically science articles, showed how important it is to have writers who would connect scientific information to the public. Science communicators serve as a bridge that connects scientific facts to people in a way that it would be more digestible, without compromising its value,” Renz Trovela, an attendee from 1 BS Biology, said.

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