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Media and communications skills workshop for scientists

Media and communications skills workshop for scientists

Scientists keen to develop their communication skills and contribute to discussion on science-related issues facing society have a valuable new resource to draw on.

The Science Media Centre is launching a national programme of media and communications skills workshops for scientists and researchers, expanding on the services it offers journalists and scientists when science hits the headlines.

The first Science Media SAVVY workshop will run over two days in Christchurch - 29-30 October 2012 -- and feature the support of Dr Mark Quigley, the 2011 Prime Minister's Science Media Communication award winner who was a key contributor of scientific commentary to the media in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Designed with busy scientists and researchers in mind, the workshops will focus on encouraging effective media engagement, building skills and confidence, and enabling scientists to navigate a range of media encounters with success.

There will be a particular focus on bridging the cultures of the newsroom and the research bench, with substantial involvement and feedback from working journalists as a unique strength of the programme, which will be rolled out in other major centres in 2012/13.

"In this age of rapid knowledge transfer, the modern scientist must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently, using a variety of media channels to stay connected and stay relevant," says Dr Quigley, whose support has been instrumental in launching the programme.

"The importance of science communication has never been greater globally, and we hope that this short course will encourage and upskill New Zealand scientists, at all stages of their career, to become more engaged and effective science communicators."

Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin, says the Science Media SAVVY programme was aimed at fostering confident science communicators across all areas of science.

"The media is hungry for science stories, but crucial to the success of science in the media are individuals like Dr. Mark Quigley and the late Sir Paul Callaghan who understand the media's needs and can articulate the science in an engaging way," says Griffin.

"This builds on our services like the scientific expert database we offer journalists access to, our rapid round-ups of expert commentary and the Sciblogs science blog platform, to help forge stronger links between science and the media".

Highlights of the workshop will include:

Newsroom tour and Q&A with a panel of print and broadcast journalists
Inspiration from examples of science done well in the media
Orientation to the changing media landscape
Practical exercises and feedback
Video-recorded practice interviews
Advice on handling controversy, uncertainty and risk
Tips for preparing for print and broadcast media
'Pitch' session to local and national media -- an opportunity to put new skills to the test

For more information, or to apply for a place on the inaugural 'Science Media SAVVY' two-day training session and skills workshop, 29 - 30 October 2012 in Christchurch, please see the SMC website:


Please note: Participation in the inaugural workshop will be limited to residents of the Canterbury region, whose course attendance will be fully subsidised.

If you live in another region of New Zealand and would like to register your interest in applying for a future workshop in your area, please contact the Science Media Centre at


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