Media Workshop Breaks New
With a view to strengthening media coverage about the role of
science and technology in agricultural development, CGIAR, in
cooperation with Reuters Foundation, organized a media workshop in
Marrakech during December 4-7, 2005.
Twenty-one mid-career journalists and broadcasters from Algeria,
Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, and Syria attended the workshop.
"Our goal was simple," said Saad Hattar, a seasoned
journalist from the BBC's Arabic Service who facilitated and
led the workshop. "We wanted to benefit from the presence of
world-class scientists attending the CGIAR meetings in Marrakech
while exposing journalists to the latest advances in food and
environmental science geared toward improving the lives of poor
Because coverage of science and agriculture is limited in the
region, the action-packed workshop helped fill a niche. Journalists
and broadcasters participated in the Science Forum, attended
technical presentations, lectures and press conferences on key
issues ranging from an overview of the world food situation, to
changing contexts and new opportunities in science for agricultural
development, climate change, and the adverse impacts of avian
Roundtable discussions held over informal lunches brought
together scientists and communication staff from CGIAR Centers,
including Greg Clough, Bonnie McClafferty, Rex Navarro and Farid
Waliyar. They briefed workshop participants about research
activities at the CGIAR Centers and Challenge Programs. Mike
Shanahan of SciDev.net spoke to the participants about the
"do's and dont's" of online publishing.
Addressing the role of women in science, Professor Zohra ben
Lakhdar gave a first-person account of her experiences in setting
up a laboratory at the University of Tunis.
Participants were unanimous in their appreciation. "The
workshop allowed me to reorganize my knowledge and taught me new
techniques in science reporting," said Mohamed Kamal Al-Zalek
of "Tishreen," a daily published in Aleppo, Syria.
Mohammed Al-Alayan, Science Editor, Radio Oman, voiced his support
for the workshop, noting that it helped him to update and sharpen
his skills. Workshop participants joined the twenty additional
Moroccan journalists and interviewed the 2005 Science Award
winners, CGIAR scientists, and high level dignitaries while in
Marrakech. Many stories were filed to radio stations and newspapers
throughout the region.
Media workshop participants gather in front of the Palais des
Congres in Marrakech
Participants attend a presentation on new agricultural
Participants attended 5 media conferences during the workshop
Media workshop participants had many opportunities to interview
scientists and high level dignitaries