For many people science in the media is lovely science stories like gravitational waves, the God particle and incredible discoveries about our natural history. But science is also to be found in messy, politicised and contentious stories like the coverage of climate-gate, Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans and rows about the safety of statins, e-cigarettes and anti-depressants. And it is essential that the wider public and policy makers have access to the best evidence when these controversies rage on our front pages.
How can scientists get their voices heard more loudly on these sensitive and contested issues? Is science in the headlines an opportunity or a threat? How can we help the public to assess where the weight of good evidence lies on issues when the media’s love of ‘balance’ and the maverick make it look like science is divided. The Science Media Centre sits on the front line between the research community and the 24 hour news media. Its remit is to get the media to DO science better by getting scientists to DO the media better. The CEO Fiona Fox will describe the philosophy of the Centre and show through real case studies how scientists changed what the public saw by engaging.