Research institutes, funding organizations, and conferences on science communication all promote the development of in-house media training for scientists. Those media trainers who take on this challenge soon find out that the media and scientific research are still vastly separate worlds. Although there are many examples of scientific coverage in the media that has been successful, as well as scientists who are media savvy, there are prejudices at work on both sides that can often take precedence in many situations. With the proliferation of new and social media in the current media landscape, the situation becomes even more complex. After a panel discussion on PCST2012 in Florence, Italy, a former press officer, a web and social media editor, and a scientific journalist embarked on a quest to develop a program titled “A Walkthrough In the Media for Scientists.” To develop an effective approach for the program – one that was based on a mutual understanding – the trio organized international workshops with scientists, science communicators, press officers, and journalists in both Italy and The Netherlands. The material gained from those workshops was then further enriched by inviting these groups of researchers and communication professionals to reflect on and contribute to the text in a specific Facebook group. The resulting material is a short, practical guide that will enable researchers to prepare effectively for media performances, including those that incorporate various, international perspectives. While it is true that “…not every researcher can be a spin doctor, capable of turning every question to their own advantage”, the authors believe that “every scientist who is well-prepared for media contact will be able to convey their message to the public successfully.” That contributions to this guide were obtained from both sides – from researchers and media professionals alike – gives its readers an opportunity to find common ground. The resulting Walkthrough provides scientists who may encounter media contacts in the near future with a crash course in effective interaction. Due to its practical format, the Walkthrough can also be used as a textbook for interactive, in-house media trainings. In fact, the authors themselves are using it in their own inhouse workshops. During this PCST workshop, two of the authors will present the main points of the book while demonstrating their interactive approach to the workshop’s participants.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Prepare for 15 seconds of fame! A walkthrough in the media for scientists

Fred Balvert   Erice International School of Science Journalism

Soaud Zgaoui   Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands

Research institutes, funding organizations, and conferences on science communication all promote the development of in-house media training for scientists. Those media trainers who take on this challenge soon find out that the media and scientific research are still vastly separate worlds. Although there are many examples of scientific coverage in the media that has been successful, as well as scientists who are media savvy, there are prejudices at work on both sides that can often take precedence in many situations. With the proliferation of new and social media in the current media landscape, the situation becomes even more complex. After a panel discussion on PCST2012 in Florence, Italy, a former press officer, a web and social media editor, and a scientific journalist embarked on a quest to develop a program titled “A Walkthrough In the Media for Scientists.” To develop an effective approach for the program – one that was based on a mutual understanding – the trio organized international workshops with scientists, science communicators, press officers, and journalists in both Italy and The Netherlands. The material gained from those workshops was then further enriched by inviting these groups of researchers and communication professionals to reflect on and contribute to the text in a specific Facebook group. The resulting material is a short, practical guide that will enable researchers to prepare effectively for media performances, including those that incorporate various, international perspectives. While it is true that “…not every researcher can be a spin doctor, capable of turning every question to their own advantage”, the authors believe that “every scientist who is well-prepared for media contact will be able to convey their message to the public successfully.” That contributions to this guide were obtained from both sides – from researchers and media professionals alike – gives its readers an opportunity to find common ground. The resulting Walkthrough provides scientists who may encounter media contacts in the near future with a crash course in effective interaction. Due to its practical format, the Walkthrough can also be used as a textbook for interactive, in-house media trainings. In fact, the authors themselves are using it in their own inhouse workshops. During this PCST workshop, two of the authors will present the main points of the book while demonstrating their interactive approach to the workshop’s participants.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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