Do not Write for Yourself

Seminar series at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences are a regular occurrence. Only that main on the menu are scientific discussions of all nature.

March 19th 2014 was however a seminar with a difference; the topic was way out of the science arena. This time round, scientists were being updated on how to write for the media. The seminar was delivered by Ms. Catherine Mwesigwa Features Editor at The New Vision and Mr. Paul Busharizi, Contributing Editor, Business and Politics at The New Vision.

While researchers/scientists are trained to deliver the findings of their work last, the media training suggested the opposite. ÔÇ£Keep your audience captive; say what you want to say quicklyÔÇØ, Mr. Busharizi said.

Many scientists try to steer away from contradiction all their professional and social life, in the mediaÔÇÖ they were told to incite some dose of contradiction. ÔÇ£Do not fear contradiction, it excites debate and opportunity for clarificationÔÇØ, said Paul Busharizi.

Held at the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) and mainly attended by MakSPH research/academic staff, the two The New Vision senior staff emphasized that writing for the media is from the perspective of the publicÔÇÖs interest and not the interests of the writer. Seminar participants were encouraged to think topical about what they are writing, minimize or completely avoid the use of numbers, be very mindful of newsroom deadlines and make sure to learn the editorial policy of the paper for which they intend to write.

It was one of those seminars where participants didnÔÇÖt have to remember methodology or research questions but listened attentively often breaking into bouts of laughter. The discussion was quite rich and enlightening for many.