Science Media Centre

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Science Media Centre
AbbreviationSMC
Formation2000
Legal statusNon-profit organization
PurposeScience and society in the UK
Location
Region served
UK
Membership
60 science organisations
Director
Fiona Fox[1][2]
Websitehttp://www.sciencemediacentre.org

The Science Media Centre is an organisation which formed in 2002,[3] two years after the United Kingdom House of Lords Select committee on Science and Technology's third report on "Science and Society" in 2000.[4][failed verification]

This report stated that while science was generally reported accurately in the mass media, there was a need for the promotion of more expert information at times when science is under attack in the headlines, mentioning the public reaction to GM crops, in particular.

Functions[edit]

In order to promote more informed science in the media, the centre's main function is as a service to journalists, providing background briefings on current scientific issues and facilitating interviews with scientists. Its director is Fiona Fox who is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a former contributor to its magazine Living Marxism.[5]

Aims[edit]

The SMC's stated aim is to "facilitate more scientists to engage with the media, in the hope that the public will have improved access to accurate, evidence-based scientific information about the stories of the day".

Structure[edit]

The setting up of the Science Media Centre was assisted by Susan Greenfield, the director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.[citation needed] While the centre is still based in a specially refurbished wing of the Royal Institution, full independence is claimed from all funders and supporters.[citation needed]

The Science Media Centre is funded by over 60 organisations, with individual donations capped at £12,500 per annum.[citation needed] The SMC receives sponsorship from a range of funders including media organisations, universities, scientific and learned societies, the UK Research Councils, government bodies, Quangos, charities, private donors and corporate bodies. For an up-to-date list of funders, see [1].

Criticism[edit]

A 2013 article in Nature stated about the SMC, "Perhaps the biggest criticism of Fox and the SMC is that they push science too aggressively – acting more as a PR agency than as a source of accurate science information."[6]

In 2002, Ronan Bennett and Alan Rusbridger described the SMC as a lobby group.[7]

Other SMCs[edit]

During Professor Greenfield's term as Thinker in Residence in South Australia, a new Australian Science Media Centre was set up in Adelaide, Australia in August 2005.[8][9]

Science Media Centres exist in other countries such as Japan;[1] except for the relation between the Science Media Centre in UK and the Australian Science Media Centre, these centres are independent of each other.[citation needed]

The Science Media Centre of Canada was founded in 2008.[10]

The New Zealand Science Media Centre was launched on 30 June 2008[11]

The Science Media Center Germany was founded in 2015 with €1.5 million in seed money by Klaus Tschira, founder of the software company SAP SE.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Callaway, E. (2013). "Science media: Centre of attention: Fiona Fox and her Science Media Centre are determined to improve Britain's press. Now the model is spreading around the world". Nature. 499 (7457): 142–4. doi:10.1038/499142a. PMID 23846643.
  2. ^ Anon (2005). "Editorial: Public controversies that involve scientific uncertainty can be influenced by mavericks. Open confrontation and analysis serves the public better than excommunication". Nature. 437 (7055): 1. doi:10.1038/437001a. PMID 16136088.
  3. ^ Kirby, Tony (2009). "Fiona Fox". The Lancet. 373 (9680): 2017. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61099-0. PMID 19524767.
  4. ^ "House of Lords - Science and Technology - Third Report". www.publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  5. ^ Melchett, Peter (19 April 2007). "Clear intentions". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^ Nature (2013). "Science media: Centre of attention". Nature. 499 (7457): 142–144. Bibcode:2013Natur.499..142C. doi:10.1038/499142a. PMID 23846643.
  7. ^ The Guardian (2002). "Lobby group 'led GM thriller critics'".
  8. ^ "Our Origins". Australian Science Media Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Adelaide Thinkers in Residence - Impacts". Govt. of South Australia. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  10. ^ The SMCC Story The Science Media Centre of Canada, retrieved 29 January 2019
  11. ^ The New Zealand Science Media Centre, retrieved 29 January 2019
  12. ^ The Science Media Center Germany retrieved 28 January 2019

External links[edit]

Audio clips[edit]