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First feature November 24, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Science.
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I had my first feature article for Wellcome published on the site on Friday. It’s only based on one interview, but the subject is pretty interesting and in keeping with my previous experience on developing country science ^^

Overall, I’m reasonably pleased with it. Am working up to doing something more in depth with a bit more research and a range of opinions. Will be good to have a topic to really sink my teeth into, though I’m sure it’ll be pretty difficult to piece together.

Otherwise, I continue to contribute regular news to the site. We don’t currently put bylines on the news stories (T_T) but this one and this one are all me. And this one was my first news article in the job. Most of the time I tend to re-edit press releases on stuff we’ve funded: for example this, this and this. Editing is bread and butter stuff for me, so I don’t mind doing it. It can be a bit challenging sometimes too if ther press release really sucks or I have to dig out the Wellcome angle. Of course, nothing beats writing and interviewing for your own article.

Where it gets a bit boring is when I have to do slightly promotional ‘announcement‘ news. It’s a great project, don’t get me wrong, but a follow up call like this isn’t exactly groundbreaking news.

Other than that, I’ve been doing bits and pieces for our various brochures, magazines and reports. I’ve even ghostwritten for the Director twice. So plenty of variety keeping me occupied. ^^

Plagiarised! November 19, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Science.
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Here’s an article on a Kenyan researcher doing good work on malaria using geospatial modelling. It reads really well, but….

“By Henry Neondo” my arse. I (re)wrote that, based on something the Kenya Medical Research Institute had put together and asked me to help with before they sent out to local publications for publicity. The article is word for word what I edited and rewrote.

Of course, the main thing is that the info gets out there. But it’s another example of the plagiarism that is rife in African journalism and which used to drive me insane as an editor.

A more original feature coming up on the Wellcome Trust website this Friday.

Old job, new job October 11, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Personal.
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I finished up at my old job yesterday. I’m officially no longer the news editor at SciDev.Net. In a week’s time I’ll be a science writer for The Wellcome Trust.

It’s a real change for me. I still very much want to be an Editor, but I’ve always thought it hard to get people to take me seriously if I haven’t had the writing experience and portfolio. I have gained a hell of a lot through my editorship at I,Science and SciDev.Net, but I’m sure people would look at my CV and ask, how did he get so far so fast without ‘doing time’ as a writer/journalist? Besides, I’ve always lacked confidence about my writing, and I think it’s time to get out of my comfort zone, stop hiding behind editing other people’s work and start writing for myself! I am a decent writer, and it’s got me this job, so I can only improve from here.

It is weird to leave a place I really like and people I really get on with. Things weren’t perfect, and I had my fair number of stresses and situations. As such, moving on is probably a good move at this time, particularly for a better salary :p Besides, having spent the majority of my working life at two small-sized places, working for a big one will be a good experience. I am a little scared — I never like change — but it’s time to sit up and step up. In the meantime, one week off (woo-hoo!) and a short break in Prague. Then we’ll see about that future.