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Posts tagged ‘Science journalism’

Getting naked for science

Alan volunteering at The Big Bang Fair

Alan volunteering at The Big Bang Fair (Copyright: Alan Boyd)

Who are the Naked Scientists? And what’s it like to work with them? Alan Boyd, a PhD student from the MRC Institute for Hearing Research in Glasgow, found out on an eight-week MRC-funded foray into their audio world.

Call it what you will: science journalism; science communication; public engagement with science. Whatever the name, it’s about taking sometimes abstract, often difficult and almost always important discoveries in scientific research and making them accessible to the general public.

Over the past 10 years, the multi-award winning Naked Scientists radio show, podcasts, websites and live shows have become a major conduit through which people around the world receive their weekly dose of science.

The Naked Scientists occupy an office and a cupboard in the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge. Upon starting my internship, three things were clear. Firstly, this office had windows. As a PhD student in the depths of a hospital, that’s something I’d long ago dismissed as an unfathomable luxury. Secondly, lab meetings were to be replaced by strong coffee and continuously tight deadlines, flanked by publishing embargoes (which I nearly broke at least twice) and preparation for the radio show on a Sunday evening. Thirdly, the Naked Scientists remain disappointingly unfaithful to their name… Read more

Making sense of the media

Heather Blackmore (Copyright: Heather Blackmore)

Heather Blackmore (Copyright: Heather Blackmore)

PhD student Heather Blackmore attended a Standing up for Science media workshop in June. Here she tells us why she’ll now be looking at the science news headlines with new eyes.

Have you ever read a newspaper article and felt the need to challenge the journalism or scientific content? Whether a scientist or not, I’m sure that you too come across articles that seem exaggerated in their claims or inaccurate in the way they explain research.

As a second year PhD student, I had become increasingly aware of how little I understood about how scientists and the media interact, particularly how scientists can handle media interest after publishing in well-known journals. That’s why I attended the media workshop, run by Sense about Science, in London on the 15 June.

Speakers included scientists, journalists and representatives from learned societies and Sense about Science. Discussions centred on topics such as what journalists want, why media portrayal of research goes wrong and what you can do if you spot bad science. Read more