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for journalists

When science hits the news agenda, it’s our job to pass on to journalists as much accurate information as we can, as quickly as possible. In order to do this we send out quotes from experts, statistical analyses of scientific studies and factsheets, in addition to running regular press briefings on the latest hot topic. Find our most recent roundups and rapid reactions, briefings, factsheets and ‘before the headlines’ analyses below, or use the icons on the right.

As well as working with experienced specialist reporters, we also provide support to new reporters, editors and generalists through a series of publications, including ‘briefing notes’ on controversial topics, and guidelines on science and health reporting, and by working with the National Coordinator for Science Training for Journalists.

see publications for journalists

Need an expert to interview? The SMC’s database is not quite like any other. Those on it are selected not just for their proven expertise, but also for their willingness and ability to engage with the media when their area of work hits the headlines. The quality of our experts is important to us. The SMC recruits scientists, engineers and others who work for respected institutions, publish in peer-reviewed journals and have a track record of quality research in their specialist field.

The SMC was established to provide assistance to the national news media when covering controversial science stories or breaking news. As such the SMC’s priority remains to support new reporters at UK national news media outlets. We prioritise working with science, health and environment specialists on controversial news pieces, but also provide support for journalists pursuing original and long-form pieces by advising on the best experts to approach and helping to set up visits to institutions.

Get in touch using the details below. Please be aware though, if your enquiry does not fit our remit we may not be able to help or may refer you on to external scientific institutions.

 

t: +44 (0)20 7611 8300
e: smc@sciencemediacentre.org

 

cochrane review of evidence on stress urinary incontinence surgery / vaginal mesh – effectiveness and side effects

Vaginal mesh surgery for stress urinary incontinence has been in the news over the last couple of years, with questions being asked about its safety, effectiveness and potential side effects. The procedure involves implanting a sling made of artificial mesh under the urethra to support the muscles of the bladder. There have been a number of reports of women suffering pain and injury after surgery, and some suggestion that side-effects may be due to the sling which is made of non-absorbable plastic. This has led to court cases worldwide, with some already under way in the UK, the USA and Canada. In Scotland, the health minister called for hospitals to consider the suspension of mesh operations until more evidence is available. An independent review set up in Scotland in 2014 to review the safety of these operations will publish its findings later this year. read more

publication of the results of the 5 year project to develop for the first time wheat that is genetically engineered to repel aphids

The full results of the controversial GM wheat field trial held by Rothamsted Research in 2012-2013 are published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports. The first year of the trial, labelled by journalists as ‘the whiffy wheat’ trial, caused significant public attention when Take the Flour Back was formed to campaign against the field trial and held a protest at the site. The campaign became a something of a cause célèbre when the Rothamsted Researchers fought back with a YouTube video and petition appealing to activists not to destroy the trial site. In the event the campaigners did not disrupt the research and had no bearing on the performance of the trial or the gathering of results. read more

new report from the Lancet Climate Health Commission

A new report from the Lancet Climate Health Commission has declared climate change a ‘medical emergency’. Its authors state that the threat to human health posed by climate change is so great that it could undermine the last fifty years of gains in development and global health. It also presents new evidence suggesting that the health benefits of mitigation/adaptation – from reducing air pollution to improving diet – represent one of the greatest opportunities to improve global health this century. read more

expert reaction to new study on bees and crop pollination

The extent of the contribution of bees to crop pollination and factors which affect their health and survival are active areas of research. Publishing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers have reported that the significant contribution of bees to aiding human crop production is limited to a subset of all species, and suggest that conservation and management projects should be more targeted. read more

chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease

A number of types of food have been suggested to have beneficial effects on health, and a team publishing in the journal Heart have investigated an association between chocolate consumption and cardiovascular disease. Based on a meta-analysis, the researchers report that higher intake of chocolate was associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events. read more

expert reaction to study on chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease

A number of types of food have been suggested to have beneficial effects on health, and a team publishing in the journal Heart have investigated an association between chocolate consumption and cardiovascular disease. Based on a meta-analysis, the researchers report that higher intake of chocolate was associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events. read more

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