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Introduction to the News Media by the Science Media Centre, 2020
COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of scientists engaging with the media. Public understanding of the nature of the virus and the behaviours needed to minimise risk is essential for saving lives. It’s paramount that these topics are communicated correctly and that evidence has its say. We have some excellent science and health journalists in the UK, but the pandemic will never be covered as accurately as we want it to be without the direct involvement of the experts themselves.
Introduction to the News Media is a seminar devised over ten years ago by the Science Media Centre aimed at persuading the best scientists of the case for engaging with the media. We do this through a number of things:
A talk from a press officer from the SMC, demonstrating clear examples of the way great researchers engaging with the media improves the quality of science being reported
A talk from an institutional science press officer who explains what support is available to scientists wanting to interact with journalists
A rare opportunity to listen to and question a panel of several national news science journalists about the way they report science, what they need from you and how best to engage with them to get the most accurate coverage
A panel of several scientists who have put their toe in the choppy media waters and lived to tell the tale giving you the good, the bad and the ugly of their experiences
Our next Introduction to the News Media event on Thursday 1st October is a special event focused exclusively on COVID-19 and will be held online from 14:00 – 17:00.
It’s a hugely informative, entertaining and popular afternoon. And it’s FREE.
Is it for you?
These free events are designed specifically for scientists with little or no media experience. They are fascinating in themselves, but the greatest benefit will be for scientists who work on issues likely to be in the news but who are either media shy, feel negatively about engaging with journalists or are downright scared that they will get it wrong. We welcome scientists, engineers and medics in academia or industry from any institution (postdoctoral level or professional equivalent and above; senior scientists are particularly welcome).
This special COVID-focussed event will be most useful for scientists researching various aspects of the virus who want to talk to the media about their work, or who want to be part of the scientific community’s collective effort to better inform the public and policy makers about all aspects of the virus.
If you have colleagues working on COVID-19 who might be interested in this event, please feel free to forward this email to them!
The event will be very similar to previous SMC Introduction to the Media days – so please don’t register if you have attended before.
What is involved?
At the Science Media Centre, we have spent a huge amount of time putting scientists and journalists in touch during the pandemic, and experts like you continue to be in great demand. This event is a beginner’s guide to the media for those experts, giving an insight into the way the news media works.
The event will consist of two sessions with a short break between, all held on Zoom.
What it isn’t
Skills-based media training. This session won’t prepare you for a confrontation with the hosts of BBC Radio 4’s Today, but it will give you a flavour of the media to help you understand its demands and make it easier for you to work with journalists. It will also give you good reasons to forge closer ties with your press office.
Register your interest
To register your interest for the event, please fill in the form here.
Places are limited and we’re looking for scientists and engineers at least some way into their research careers, so we don’t generally allocate places to students.
As this event is usually heavily subscribed and we do have a Zoom participant limit for events, please don’t request a place unless you are relatively sure you will be able to join the session on the date.
As this is a COVID focussed event, scientists not working on COVID-19 in some capacity will be offered signup opportunities for future more general events.