Site launches to help scientists get media savvy

The Australian Science Media Centre has developed a website aimed at helping scientists understand how to get their message across to the media. The Science Media Savvy project has been backed by news.com.au’s editor-in-chief David Penberthy.

The announcement:

The misrepresentation of science and a need for more science heroes in the media are the driving forces behind a new online tool for scientists. Developed by the Australian Science Media Centre with support from CSIRO, Science Media Savvy is a pioneering online tool to help scientists work with the media and better inform public debate on the major issues of the day.

Featuring interviews with news journalists and editors, advice from researchers experienced in media and videos highlighting how to improve print and broadcast interview experiences, this free resource provides tips and advice for understanding and dealing with the news media.

“We have to engage with the media because there’s so much misunderstanding and mis-representation of science,” said Nobel Laureate and Science Media Savvy contributor Professor Peter Doherty AC.

Most scientists know that it is important to explain the significance of their research to the wider community and to inform public debate with evidence, but they don’t always know how to go about working with the media.

“Science needs its own heroes who are willing to step forward and go into bat for science,” said editor-in-chief of news.com.au and Science Media Savvy contributor David Penberthy. “It’s important too to recognise that the general public is more sophisticated than they are often given credit for.”

While Science Media Savvy does not replace hands-on media skills workshops, it is a new tool that will help scientists who are unable to take the time or foot the cost of attending a course or for those who need a refresher. The instant online availability of Science Media Savvy will help fill a gap in terms of what is currently available to scientists, giving them advice on dealing with the media when they need it most, from any internet-enabled computer, mobile phone or tablet.

“Scientists need to get out there and communicate the evidence on the big issues of the day, like water security, energy alternatives and superbugs,” said Australian Science Media Centre CEO Dr Susannah Eliott. “By overcoming some of the uncertainty involved with talking to the media, Science Media Savvy will encourage more scientists to be part of these ongoing debates and give the community greater access to evidence based science.”

Science Media Savvy provides an understanding of the news media cycle, what journalists want from scientists and tips for working with TV, radio and print. A second module on using social media is now being developed in collaboration with communication companies Econnect and Bridge8, and with financial support from the Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia program.

Source: Australian Science Media Centre press release


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