Gauteng report for 2012

Marina Joubert was our regional representative in Gauteng for 2012. Here is what she reports on activities from the Gauteng region for 2012:

Membership drive:
We tried really hard to grow the number of SASJA members in Gauteng. New corporate members that joined during the year include Wits and SAASTA, and several individual members.

Several Gauteng members (myself, Wiida, Mandi and others) participated in a workshop organised by Pedro Diederichs of SANEF/TUT on “The Media and Science: a partnership” held on 11 April 2012 at TUT Pretoria campus.
As with all other science and media events, we used this opportunity to tell science journalists about SASJA.

I represented SASJA at a “SA Biotech and Media Dialogue” held on 16 May 2012 in Midrand. This full-day event was organised by AfricaBio, and included a short presentation on science journalism in SA and the role of SASJA.

I represented SASJA at a CSIR workshop on “Reporting the science of climate change” held 4 & 5 June 2012. SASJA membership forms were handed out to all the delegates.

A very successful networking meeting of Gauteng SASJA members was hosted by the CSIR on 10 October 2012 as part of their “Real Problems Relevant Solutions” conference. It was attended by the following ten members: Anina Mumm, Greer van Zyl, Colleen Dawson, Wiida Basson, Ina van der Linde, Ina Roos, Shirona Patel, Kanina Foss, Ginny Stone and Marina Joubert. We also met Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication, and she was very interested in the activities of SASJA and keen on promoting science journalism/communication in the country. We identified Gauteng members willing to serve on the SASJA Executive (they have been nominated), and, following the meeting, Colleen Dawson drafted a letter to send to potential new members (sent to SASJA Executive on 11 October 2012). The meeting identified the need for a more dynamic and appealing website and social media strategy as an important requirement/tool for attracting new members.

Western Cape report for 2012

Adele Baleta was our regional representative for 2012. This is what she had to report:

Whatever has been achieved in the Western Cape has been a result of team work.

Some of the events covered included:
A seminar was held where SASJA journalists and others were invited to a University of the Free State seminar on food security. The presentation was excellent giving an overview of the issues but also up to day statistics that proved to be useful for our members.

Prior to the Olympics, members and prospective members were given an insight into the world of drug testing of athletes and the classification of para-Olympians by two researchers from the University of the Free State. One of our members produced an in-depth article after the well attended meeting.

Data mining and journalism was the topic of innovative ways of viewing science, research and capturing information that already exists.

The planned trip out to sea has not happened partly due to weather conditions. We have had a wet and windy winter and although, there are promises of sunshine, it’s raining today. We leave this prospect in the capable hands of the new committee.

Time and effort was put into looking at establishing closer links with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement. Several meetings held to find media platforms for collaborations such as the training of science journalist. There were discussions about the possibility of holding a science reporters conference.

Membership has increased in the Western Cape partly due to the SASJA committee’s work, but also following the death of Christina. Obituaries on behalf of the organisation were written and used widely on the internet, in the Mail and Guardian and the South African Journal of Science.

Collaborative team work was done to try and secure the Scjoop Mentorship Programme Conference in Cape Town.

New executive board for 2013 – 2014

The newly elected board members had their first meeting in December 2012 and they were elected to the following portfolios:

  • President: Lynne Smit
  • Deputy President: Colleen Dawson
  • Treasurer: Wiida Fourie-Basson
  • Western Cape representative: Munyaradzi Makhoni
  • Gauteng Representative: Ina van der Linde
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: Niki Moore
  • Professional Development: This portfolio forms and integral part of each region, it is also the portfolio that will draw in new members and assist in making SASJA self sustainable. It was therefore decided that all three regional represenatative as well as Wiida Fourie-Basson and Anina Mumm will form a sub-committee. The sub-committee will meet and elect a team leader.
  • Social Media: This portfolio will also form a sub-committee with Carolina Odman-Govender and Anina Mumm.
  • Public relations, marketing and branding: Mandi Smallhorne

Congratulations to our new board – may you have many successes over the next two years!