The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) initiated the Science journalism COOPeration (SjCOOP) training program for young journalists from developing countries. It is a practice-oriented project, with a leading principle of building cooperative ties among journalists. The first SjCOOP session, which covered Africa and the Middle East, was opened in 2006.
JASTJ and the WFSJ cohosted SjCOOP Asia Tokyo Meetings in 2013 and 2014. The organizers assigned senior local journalists to serve as mentors, each in charge of four mentees. Science journalists from developed countries provided support to the mentors. The participants were divided into three groups by working language: Vietnamese, Indonesian and English. The mentors met in Hanoi ahead of the first Tokyo Meeting to discuss the purpose and procedures of the project.
We invited a total of 30 journalists from Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Australia to Tokyo for the second, weeklong conference in 2014, including a two-day field trip to Fukushima Prefecture.
Both meetings turned out to be a big success, despite a number of challenges that we faced, such as language barriers and cultural gaps between participants from different countries. In 2015, we organized a data journalism training workshop as part of the Ninth WCSJ in Seoul, along with a two-day post-conference tour to Japan.
For more details in Japanese with some photos, please visit https://jastj.jp/arc1805/sjcoop.
We are seeking more opportunities in the future to strengthen the ties between science journalists in Asia.