Her experience in television encouraged her to write for the About Islam website, whose science editor at the time, Nadia El-Awady, wanted to attract contributors with a science background for what was a new type of journalism in Egypt.
Al-Ghazawy had not previously heard of science journalism but after she was introduced to the basics of writing a scientific article, she learned quickly, El-Awady said.
“The chief advantages that helped Al-Ghazawy quickly develop and become an expert in science journalism are her confidence in her work and her continuous appreciation for criticism and conversation with her editor about improving her work,” El-Awady explained.
Exploring Science Journalism, and the World
Later, Al-Ghazawy enrolled in a two-year training program in science journalism organized by the International Federation of Journalists. She traveled to several countries to write reports on scientific issues and attended a number of training workshops.
Al-Ghazawy believes the most valuable aspects of the program are that it breaks the stereotype of scientific material as dry and out of touch with daily life, and that it encourages participants to look closely at the scientific basis for their reports.
“Science journalism helped me explore the world and open up to the cultures of different countries, and also learn from all my travels after I had been working in a one-square-meter pharmacy,” she said.
One issue that affected her deeply is female genital mutilation, about which she wrote a series of reports from several African countries to document violations against women’s rights.
“I heard psychologically harmful stories during which I learned about the role of religious interpretation in justifying this practice. It is even labeled a ‘Christian practice’ in some countries and a ‘Pharaonic practice’ in others,” she said.
In a recent article for the Arabic edition of Scientific American, Al-Ghazawy outlines the most prominent proposals for a fair distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine and examines the biggest flaws in those proposals.
In addition to her interest in science journalism, she also worked for about five years at Zewail City of Science and Technology where she was in charge of the website’s scientific content and helped develop marketing and communications strategy.
She says that while she was there, Ahmed Zewail, the late Nobel-Prize winning chemist, impressed upon her his keen interest in science communication and the need to make sure press releases were free of scientific errors and exaggeration.
The Pandemic: a Turning Point
Last May, as misinformation about the novel coronavirus and about treatments began to spread in conjunction with the pandemic in Egypt, Al-Ghazawy decided to launch a digital platform dedicated to delivering accurate scientific information to the public.