Citizen Science Reporter’s Training in Partnership with SEACO

Citizen Journalists Malaysia in 2015 partnered with South East Asian Community Observatory (SEACO) to train Citizen Science Reporters(CSR), a training program open to children as young as 10 years of age to adults including senior citizens.

The program funded under the Wellcome Trust International Public Engagement Awards is an initiative by SEACO that aims to train citizens in the Segamat district of Johor, Malaysia to identify and report on health related issues in their community.These platform will be used to find stories of human interest from within the community to help identify new health priority areas from the community’s perspective and report on the community’s perceptions.

Participants were taught the basic skills on mobile video production such as recording footage, capturing images and basic editing on mobile devices. They were also trained in the basic principles and ethical guidelines to which a reporter is expected to adhere such as verifying facts, obtaining consent and taking responsibility for what they produce. Participants who join the workshop are provided with mobile phones to aid them in producing the video stories. The mobile phones are theirs to keep if the required minimum number of stories are submitted.

The training sessions was conducted

by the founder of Citizen Journalist Malaysia, Maran Perianen, The first in a series of trainings commenced on August 3rd and 4th 2015 for the Orang Asli (Indigenous) community in Bekok, Johor with 7 Indigenous people from the Jakun tribe trained. Several brief documentaries produced by the Orang Asli CSRs to date covered issues such as garbage disposal,and effects of cancer on families.

On 21st and 22nd of September a group of 21 children aged from 10 to 15 underwent a 2-day training session in Segamat through the CSR initiative. The children worked in groups throughout the training and managed to produce 7 brief documentaries with “Fast Food Consumption and Its Effect on Health” and “Haze in Segamat” are some of the topic explored.

The training series continued with another session targeting a group of 13 adults from age 19 to 63 and followed by One to One Mentoring and Advanced Training session’s  for selected participants to make sure all participants are fully trained and capable to report on age and context specific news stories. Till date the training sessions has managed to equip over 50 Citizen Science Reporters to collaborate and produce 34 video stories.