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Introduction to the News Media: 1-5pm, 29th Sept 2008 at the Royal Institution, London.

Free places for scientists to learn about how the UK news media works!


But before you read any further, please note:


THIS IS NOT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY DONE A LOT OF MEDIA WORK – It is for those who work on controversial issues but have no media experience, are wary of hostile journalists or who wonder about the value of talking to the media. If this isn't for you, please feel free to pass it on to your colleagues.


There is more information below but if you are available on 29 September and wish to attend then please send your name, job title, institutional e-mail address and phone number to:



Further Information


What is it?

A beginner’s guide to the way the UK news media works. Much of the tension between scientists and journalists is caused by a lack of mutual understanding and this event gives you an insight into a day in the life of a journalist. You will get a whistle stop tour of news media, hearing from journalists, scientists and press officers about:

  • The deadlines that journalists work to
  • The role of the editor
  • How journalists find stories
  • Top tips for dealing with the media
  • The role of the press officer
  • The importance of engaging with the media


What Professor Chris Higgins, Vice Chancellor of Durham University said:

 “Working with the Science Media Centre has given me many opportunities to communicate my knowledge of and passion for science to the wider public, through interviews with a variety of media.   It has also helped influence the political agenda in a very positive way, for example on animals in medical research.


“I encourage any scientist who wants to engage successfully with the media and the SMC to attend this session, particularly to improve their understanding of how to work effectively to influence the agenda.”


What the scientists who took part in 2007 said:

“It gave me a good insight into why the media view is so different- and makes me listen to the views expressed now in a different light.”


“Have already had some contacts with the media, but was very nice to hear things from their point of view. Must be said, have not appreciated fully the time pressures they work under.”


“I found the event very interesting and useful.  I feel more comfortable with the idea of talking to journalists now.”


“I thought it was great and gave me at least 5 major take home points which I will use in the future.”


Extremely revealing and entertaining.”


What it isn’t:

Traditional media training. This session will NOT prepare you for a confrontation with Paxman or Humphries and it is not skills based media training; instead it will give you a flavour of the media to help you understand its demands and make it easier to work with journalists effectively.


Is it for you?

  • This is only for scientists who have not had much/any media experience before.
  • This event will be very similar to previous SMC Introduction to the News Media Days – so please don’t come if you have been to the event before.
  • The sessions only deal with news journalism, so will only be relevant to scientists who work on a ‘hot’ topic that is likely to hit the headlines.


The event will be divided up into sessions with a few tea breaks and we’ll finish off over a glass of wine and the opportunity for you to network. I’ll distribute the final session timetable as soon as it's finalised, but to give you a taster, we currently have confirmed the following speakers – Tom Clarke (Channel 4 News), Christine McGourty (BBC News), Rebecca Morelle (BBC Online), Alok Jha (The Guardian), Tara Womersley (Press Officer), Prof. Peter Braude (Kings College London).


The event is completely free of charge. However, due to the size of the lecture theatre, numbers will be limited so we are keen to give these limited places to those of you who will benefit most from this event.


Finally – please do not request a place unless you are absolutely sure you can attend this session and it is definitely in their diary. We are limited to 200 places and we anticipate that the demand for places will be higher than we can accommodate.


If you are available on 29 September and wish to attend then please send your name and institutional e-mail address to:

Posted on 11/09/2008

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