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The art of communicating science

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Published
Publication date1/02/2016
JournalBMJ
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Journalists care about accurate but entertaining science reporting, Rachel Isba and Lucy Potter discovered when they undertook a fellowship in two national media outlets

Over the summer we took part in the British Science Association Media Fellowship scheme, with BBC Breakfast and mirror.co.uk. The scheme, which has run annually since 1987, places scientists in media outlets to give them the confidence to engage with the media and give journalists access to new scientific expertise. After their placements, fellows attend and report on the British Science Festival as part of the press team for the event.

Our fellowships were funded by the Wellcome Trust, but other funders include research councils, learned societies, and universities. Neither of us had any formal experience with the media and we wanted to develop our communication skills. Science and medicine sometimes seem to be reported poorly so we wanted to find out why and how the media report on science and health.

As well as raising the profiles of our hospital trusts and increasing understanding by strengthening links between ourselves, our departments, and the wider media, we were both keen to increase local science communication activity and encourage others to engage with the media.