Working with the Media
Do you have a research story that may be newsworthy?
The PR contact for BIOSI is Mr Stephen Rouse.
This videoed talk was delivered by Dr James Randerson, the Guardian's environment and science news editor, as part of the School's Bioconnect seminar series in March 2011
Interacting with the media can be intimidating and bewildering, but it
is possible to get what you want from the experience. To get the best
from the media you need to understand how it operates and what it is
looking for. Journalists are likely to have a different outlook on
your research than you do but that does not mean they want to
misrepresent it. Understanding their approach will help you to steer
the way they present the story.
This talk will focus on understanding the journalistic outlook and
offer some practical tips about how to present your work and expertise
in interviews. I will also discuss some of the seismic changes that
are happening in the media and how these present new opportunities for
Media Training courses & Fellowships
This course is tailor-made for BBSRC grant holders, and calls upon the skills of practising radio and print journalists to introduce scientists to the workings of the media. Presenting your research through the media is an efficient way of reaching a large audience. This course provides an ideal opportunity for scientists to learn how to use the media machine in promoting their science. There is a strong practical flavour, enabling participants to hone their writing skills and experience the thrills of a radio interview without the worries of a real broadcast. Places are free to principal investigators and research project leaders funded by BBSRC at universities and institutes that receive a competitive strategic grant from BBSRC. BBSRC-supported PhD students are also welcome.
Upcoming dates are 13th September and 27th October 2011.
This course is free for NERC-funded researchers and students and is run apporximately six times per year. You learn, through hands-on sessions, how:
- the media works
- to write effectively
- to do confident radio interviews
- to design public engagement activities
You will have the opportunity to meet a science journalist working for one of the UK's leading national newspapers, a public engagement specialist, and hear a researcher talk about their experiences of developing and delivering a public engagement activity. You will also benefit from the experience of a former BBC radio journalist to help you hone your interview skills.
This is also a one day course and focuses specifically on the skills needed when communicating with the media. A hands-on approach, including real film crew, takes scientists with a basic knowledge of the media and increases their skill and confidence in preparing for radio and television interviews and in approaching the print media with news stories and features. The cost is £400. The Royal Society will fully subsidise Royal Society funded research fellows and professors to go on one of their courses, and a second course (see above) may be funded at the discretion of the Grants Section. EPSRC and The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 consider the Royal Society their preferred communication course provider. EPSRC researchers can request funding for public communication training as part of a research proposal.
Upcoming date is 16th November 2011
The British Science Association Media Fellowships are intended to create a greater awareness and understanding of the workings of the media among practising scientists, social scientists, clinicians and engineers.
Up to 10 Media Fellows spend 3 to 8 weeks working with a national press, broadcast or internet journalist learning to work within the conditions and constraints of the media to produce accurate and well informed pieces about developments in science and then attend the British Science Festival.
The Media Fellowships have been running since 1987 and reflect the British Science Association's commitment to work with the media to build understanding between science and society.
Scheme for Wellcome Trust funded post-docs to spend 4 weeks at the BBC
Scheme for 2 biomedical scientists to undertake a postgraduate qualification in science media production at Imperial College followed by a 6 month placement in the broadcast industry
Other useful resources
The University’s Public Relations team works closely with the Science Media Centre to provide expert comment and deliver training opportunities for researchers
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views of the scientific community to the national news media when science is in the headlines.
Their ultimate goal is to facilitate more scientists to engage with the media, in the hope that the public will have improved access to accurate, evidence-based scientific information about the stories of the day.
The Science Media Centre has produced a factsheet for scientists providing top tips for media work, and kindly allowed us to make it accessible to scientists at Cardiff University.
Please click the link to download the facesheet: SMC top tips for media work
The Science Media Centre has also produced a set of How Science Works pocket-sized guides for scientists; covering risk, peer reviews, animal research, and uncertainty.