A DECADE OF SCIENCE-MEDIA COLLABORATION
As the first Science Media Centre we are very excited about the emergence of a network of SMCs around the world. This confirms that this unique model works well even in countries with very different types of media and different challenges.
The model is a success for many reasons but foremost amongst them is our ability to put our commitment to achieving good quality science coverage over any concerns about promoting a brand name or institutional messages. This allows all the SMCs an unprecedented level of freedom to be true to the science and has earned us the trust and respect of scientists and journalists alike.
This trust is also reflected in the funding of the SMCs which is set up to reinforce this independence. Only now are we also beginning to grasp the huge potential for added value that this network provides. When our colleagues in Norway tipped us off that the Times Atlas had grossly exaggerated the extent of the polar ice loss because of climate change, all the national SMCs worked together to ensure that our local media was aware that climate scientists had stepped in to correct this mistake.
When the earthquake and tsunami in Japan led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the SMCs were able to show that scientific expertise is truly international by sharing the views of nuclear experts in all countries and to speak to our colleagues in Japan on a daily basis to hear how their scientists were reacting to the crisis.
SMCs in similar time zones have started to run successful joint press briefings providing incredible opportunities for scientists to reach wider audiences and for journalists to access wonderful experts on some of the most controversial science stories of our day. At our first ever global SMCs meeting at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Doha earlier this year the room was bursting with excitement at the potential for this network as colleagues from Italy, China, Denmark and Norway joined the established SMCs to tell us of their plans to establish new ones.
We are only at the start of this exciting journey and there will be challenges along the way but already we are building up examples of how this collaboration will be good for science and the media around the world.
Director and founder of the UK Science Media Centre