About the JASTJ science journalism “juku” (training course) and its recent activity

     The science journalism “juku” is a half-year-long training course for would-be science journalists that JASTJ has been offering annually since 2002.

     Its classes given by experienced lecturers allow the trainees to learn a variety of know-how that has to do with the practice of science journalists, such as their role in society, concrete approaches, planning methods and material-gathering/interviewing techniques. Getting to know directly about work skills of professionals greatly inspires the trainees, who begin to think for themselves and work hard in quest of answers.

     We set no age, gender, experience-based or other requirements to qualify “juku” applicants. We have accepted a broad array of trainees, ranging from undergraduate students to working adults and even a Nobel laureate—yes, this really happened! —, thereby realizing an ideal environment where they can engage in discussions on an equal footing and learn together about science journalism.

     Fourteen trainees participated in the 16th term of the JASTJ science journalism “juku,” which lasted from September 2017 through February 2018. JASTJ enlisted the help of research institutions and other parties to make sure the trainees are given hands-on experiences during on-site interview tours. The trainees were then assigned to work on their respective tasks that suited their individual needs, such as writing an article or giving an oral/video presentation, which allowed them effectively to acquire knowledge and skills that are required of a science journalist. Active discussions helped them learn about how they should set a subject, work out a plan, gather materials, interview people, write an article and give an oral/video presentation, all the while remaining true to the guiding principle of “deep insight in plain language.”

A scene from the JASTJ science journalism “juku” (training course) 16th-term completion ceremony (Photo by Hiromi Kashino)

     (Visit https://jastj.jp/tcsj for more details on the content of the “juku” course and final works by the “juku” trainees; sorry, only in Japanese.)

     It is our pride and joy that many of the JASTJ “juku” graduates are playing active roles as science journalists in society. We hope to continue offering the “juku” sessions in the future, which we define as one of our key missions for contributing to society.