Plant geneticist Professor Mark Tester often finds himself involved in lively debate when the subject of genetic engineering is in the headlines.
A media frenzy
Primatologist Dr Carla Litchfield led a group of volunteers in a Human Zoo experiment, where they spent two weeks living in a zoo enclosure, on show to the public. The world's media went mad for the story.
The media in your workspace
Ecologist Justin Perry works with small animals in remote areas. TV crews love to visit.
When research makes news
Materials engineer Professor Veena Sahajwalla works in partnership with industry. When they made a groundbreaking discovery she had to decide how to present it to the media.
Working side by side with the media
Professor Paul Martin has always enjoyed dealing with media. He has collaborated on a documentary dealing with his research area, the eye and colour blindness.
Laureate Professor Peter Doherty had little to do with the media until he won the Nobel Prize in 1996. Suddenly everyone from science journalists to talkback hosts wanted a piece of him.
Forewarned is forearmedNext: The view from the other side
- Handling sudden media attention
- Keeping the message simple
- Dealing with controversial issues
- Taking some control in a media situation
- Pitching your own research to the media
There are some scientists that the media just keeps on going back to, names and faces that have become familiar to the regular news audience.
It’s not because they are good looking, it’s because they are able to explain their area of expertise simply to journalists and thus to an audience.
When the light bulb goes on, when the audience understands what a scientist is saying, they become engaged, excited, perhaps convinced about the importance of that science. They’re the people that vote, that support funding, that stand to benefit from the efforts that science puts in. Many of them distrust scientists because they seem to speak another language, and it’s natural to distrust what you don’t understand, especially when you see public money being spent on it. So as scientists, we need to welcome media opportunities and be able to engage with the media without fear.
The media-savvy scientists in the following videos weren’t always so confident and able to explain themselves so simply and eloquently, but with practice they’ve become so. Now hear their stories…