The Centre for Science and Technology Mass Communication (CENSCOM), is an interdisciplinary research, service, educational and training institution of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, located in the Department of Journalism in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. (http://www.sun.ac.za/english/faculty/arts/journalism/)
CENSCOM has the following aims:
• To further science and technology mass communication (STMC) skills in the media industry for journalists, as well as science communicators at research institutions, universities and similar organisations;
• To promote the public understanding of science and technology through a dedicated focus on such issues by traditional, online and social media;
• To identify and analyse the problems surrounding the practise of science and technology mass communication skills in the media industry;
• To support and develop science and technology mass communication skills in the media industry through specific interventions such as short courses, seminars, conferences, workshops and research projects;
• To foster a public awareness of the difference between science and pseudoscience, thus empowering the public to make responsible decisions regarding claims about science;
• To enable the media-science interface in mass communication to ensure a free flow of information and freedom of expression regarding scientific research, policy, issues, controversies and news events, and
• To provide a stimulating and innovative platform for high level critical discussion and research into various aspects of the science and technology mass communication fields.
CENSCOM works in close alliance with the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), the South African Science Journalists’ Association (Sasja), and the South African Department of Science and Technology to provide training of science and technology journalists in the South African media and elsewhere on the African continent. It organises and hosts regular workshops, seminars and conferences to foster, promote and advance the public understanding of science, focussing on the relationship between the media and scientists. In this regard the Science meets the Media in Stellenbosch workshops since 2011 has become the benchmark to train scientists, science communicators and journalists in the field of science communication on the African continent.