745   Insight talk

Reflections on 20 years of training in Science Journalism in Brazil

Author: Germana Barata
State University of Campinas, Brazil

Science journalism training at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) has turned 20 years old and is the longest-running course in Brazil. The 18-month course is free and has graduated 382 science journalists. Classes are composed of 40 students with backgrounds in science or communication to enrich dialogue and practice in science communication.

UNICAMP has received, since 1999, 69% of the Media-Science Grant Program from the São Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP). This important support improves students' training and scientists" perception about science communication.

A total of 498 students have enrolled in the course, and women are the majority among journalists and scientists of all fields, including hard sciences (51%). Biomedicine is the main field of scientists (45.9%). There is a higher dropout rate among scientists (19.8%) compared to journalists (9.5%), and men (16.1%) compared to women (10.4%). Thirty-nine students (10.2%) have started a Master's degree and seven a PhD in science communication or in Science & Technology Policy at UNICAMP, showing the courses" relevance in expanding the interest in science communication research. 

We surveyed 203 students to know if they currently work in science communication. The majority are women (66%) from São Paulo State (79.3%) and 71.4% work in science communication, mainly among journalists. The course may improve employability and be considered more relevant among journalists and women, a hypothesis that will be investigated.

In the last 20 years, students have evaluated the course which contributed to refining the program. Training has strengthened practicals in science communication, multimedia and social media, besides partnership with Unicamp's communication channels and commercial media to boost professional experience. Course completion work is focused on the journalism market, practical communication solutions and will be publicly presented.

Future challenges include decreasing the dropout rate among scientists; investing in startups; strengthening science communication practice among graduated scientists; offering short-courses and establishing international partnerships and improving students" survey.

Co-author: Simone Pallone
State University of Campinas, Brazil

Co-author: Alessandra Carnauskas
State University of Campinas, Brazil

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