Diamonds on the soles of their feet
Communicating science and research results is essential, if the public and policymakers are to make informed decisions on issues facing their communities and regions. Yet, too many scientific results, especially local scientific findings, never reach the general public; knowledge is widely lost in the gap between media and researchers.
In 2019, with the aim of helping researchers collaborate better with the media and vice versa, we started the communication trainings seminars “Bridging the Gap – Science for the Public” where researchers and journalists acquire skills that pave the way for solid science reporting in the mainstream media. One of the participants in 2020 was Jacqueline Goldin, Associate Professor Extra-Ordinary in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, a position held under the UNESCO Chair for Groundwater and Society.
After the training seminar, Jacqueline Goldin approached the South African media “News 24” with a story based on the press release she had worked on during the course. In 2021, “News 24” published the story that described the benefits of including farmers as citizens’ scientists in capturing data in the Danida supported research project Enhancing Sustainable Groundwater use in South Africa. Later on, Professor Goldin reworked the article for the online news service, “the Conversation”, and in 2021, she won the Falling Walls Science Engagement Award 2021 in Berlin.
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