Full STEAM ahead for science, health and technology reporting in Sierra Leone

Compiled by HJN Staff

Empowering Science Reporting in Sierra Leone

Launched in December 2023, The STEAM Reporting Network (SRN) stands as a beacon of hope for science communication in Sierra Leone. Recognizing the crucial role of STEAM journalism (science, health technology, environment, agriculture, mining, and water) in fostering a well-informed society, the SRN tackles critical issues like climate change, land degradation, and resource management through impactful storytelling. The HJN spoke to SRN founder and journalist, Emma Black, to learn more.

One of the biggest challenges for science reporting in Sierra Leone is access to reliable information and expert sources, says Black. The SRN aims to address this head-on by building a network of 20 skilled science journalists by partnering with diverse media houses. The SRN works to equips these journalists with the knowledge and tools to navigate complex scientific topics confidently. Training and mentoring future leaders, recognizing the need for sustained growth, the SRN also invests in young journalists, nurturing their talent and passion for STEAM reporting. Collaborating with experts, the SRN works to build much-needed bridges between journalists, scientists, academics, and government officials, facilitating access to accurate and timely information.

Making Science Accessible

The SRN understands that complex topics aren’t always the most engaging to audiences. To bridge this gap, they employ innovative storytelling techniques to simplify complex topics, using clear language and relatable examples, making scientific concepts understandable for the general public. By putting human interest at the core of their stories, SRN showcases how STEAM advancements impact lives, inspiring hope and action at a community-level.

“The SRN goes beyond informing to actively campaign for a sustainable future, and championing environmental solutions, SRN integrates STEAM fields to promote environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, and ethical resource management,” adds Black. Influencing policy decisions, through accurate and impactful reporting, SRN holds authorities accountable and pushes for evidence-based climate change policies. Empowering informed choices, the network also shares relevant information on farming advancements, research findings, and health issues, enabling audiences to make informed decisions about their well-being.

Building a Strong Community

The SRN recognizes the value of collaboration and actively fosters a thriving network of environmental journalists. “Encouraging knowledge sharing by hosting workshops, conferences, and peer-to-peer learning initiatives, SRN creates a platform for journalists to learn from and support each other,” says Black. “Despite challenges, the SRN stands as a beacon of hope for Sierra Leone.”Through its dedication to impactful journalism, the reporting network empowers citizens with knowledge, fosters informed decision-making, and advocates for a sustainable future. As SRN continues to grow and evolve, its impact on Sierra Leone’s landscape promises to be transformative, ensuring that science and technology play a central role in shaping a brighter tomorrow.