Planet X is an online science journal by Ola-Al-Ghazawy that sets out to raise the bar for science journalism in the MENA region.
In May 2020 - as the world began to understand that it was in the midst of a full-blown pandemic - Ola Al-Ghazawy, a science journalist with a background in pharmaceutical work, was becoming increasingly frustrated by the dearth of misinformation surrounding COVID-19. She felt regional media was more engaged with the scandals and controversies of politics and economics, rather than the measured information that science journalism has to offer.
Using what she had learned as a Health and Science assistant at IslamOnline, Al-Ghazawy struck out with a few close colleagues to begin 'Planet X', an online platform that's all about bringing the cutting edge of science to the public. "Because COVID and the pandemic is the main topic nowadays, people are interested to see and learn about science in a way that is unprecedented in recent history,” Ola Al-Ghazawy tells #CairoScene. "People are realising you need a scientist's perspective on topics like this."
While Planet X is available on multiple social media platforms - namely Twitter, YouTube and WordPress - its main star is their Facebook page, where the science journal has developed a community of engaged science-lovers and mythbusters. The platform features articles and videos by contributors who are experts in their fields, although Al-Ghazawy still feels like there's much more room to grow.
"For the time being, Planet X is a bit of a one-man show," Al-Ghazawy says. "I started it as a small project but now I feel like I'm responsible for so many people trying to get out there and become science journalists. I've applied for funding and once I get it, we plan on expanding into a bigger website and holding live training for science journalists once everything returns to normal."
You can find Planet X on Facebook at f/PlanetXMENA.