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introduction to the news media

Are you interested in how the media works? Do you get frustrated by what you read and see in the news? Do you want to help journalists report your subject better? If so, this is the event for you.

At the SMC’s popular Introduction to the News Media events, media-experienced scientists, science journalists from the national news media and press officers give presentations about the realities of the news media, all with an eye to science in the headlines. The SMC has run over 20 Introduction to the News Media events engaging thousands of scientists across the UK, including in venues in London, Durham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton, Exeter, Belfast and Norwich.


We do not yet have a new date in the diary for our next Introduction to the News Media event, but we aim to have a new date in the next few months. 

If you would like to register your interest in attending a session in the future, please contact us at



Introduction to the News Media is a seminar devised over ten years ago by the Science Media Centre aimed at persuading the best scientists of the case for engaging with the media. We do this through a number of things:

  1. A talk from a press officer from the SMC, demonstrating clear examples of the way great researchers engaging with the media improves the quality of science being reported
  2. A talk from an institutional science press officer who explains what support is available to scientists wanting to interact with journalists
  3. A rare opportunity to listen to and question a panel of national news science journalists about the way they report science, what they need from you and how best to engage with them to get the most accurate coverage
  4. A panel of several scientists who have put their toe in the choppy media waters and lived to tell the tale giving you the good, the bad and the ugly of their experiences

It’s a hugely informative, entertaining and popular afternoon. And it’s FREE.

Is it for you?

These free events are designed specifically for scientists with little or no media experience. They are fascinating in themselves, but the greatest benefit will be for scientists who work on issues likely to be in the news but who are either media shy, feel negatively about engaging with journalists or are downright scared that they will get it wrong. We welcome scientists, engineers and medics in academia or industry from any institution (postdoctoral level or professional equivalent and above; senior scientists are particularly welcome).

Please do invite any of your scientists who meet that criteria who you think might be interested, please feel free to pass on this information to them!

For any further queries, please email


‌what do the events involve?

The events last half a day and offer a beginner’s guide to the media, giving an insight into the way the news media works. You will get a tour of some of the key issues, hearing about topics including:

  • How and why experts and journalists should engage with each other
  • How journalists find stories
  • Working with the Science Media Centre
  • Working with your press office
  • The role of the news editor
  • Top tips for dealing with the media


Every one of these events is free of charge.

See an example of an event programme here.


what the events are not

Skills-based media training. These events will not prepare you for a confrontation with the hosts of BBC Radio 4’s Today, and they are not practical media training; but they will give you a flavour of the news media to help you understand its demands and make it easier for you to work with journalists. They will also give you good reasons to forge closer ties with you press office.

The SMC does, however, offer individual support to scientists when collaborating with them on frontline media work. The Introduction to the New Media events are one way in which we develop relationships with scientists.


are these events for you?

These free events are designed specifically for scientists with little or no media experience. We welcome scientists, engineers and medics in academia or industry from any institution (postdoctoral level or professional equivalent and above; senior scientists are particularly welcome).

The sessions are especially relevant for scientists working in areas that are controversial and receive a lot of media coverage.



“I found it one of the most rewarding uses of an afternoon that I can remember.”

“I found the event very interesting and useful. I feel more comfortable with the idea of talking to journalists now.”

“I thought the event was extremely well organised and had a good balance of views from scientists and the media. Very engaging speakers and really practical advice and information.”

“It gave me a good insight into why the media view is so different – and makes me listen to the views expressed now in a different light.”

“Have already had some contacts with the media, but was very nice to hear things from their point of view. Must be said, have not appreciated fully the time pressures they work under.”

“It was very accessible to people from all backgrounds. The panel sessions were great, giving the audience a chance to ask anything they wanted to get the most from the event.”

“The whole thing was excellent – I had to confess I hadn’t even heard of the SMC and was a bit of a mediaphobe after a few bad experiences but found the whole afternoon stimulating and inspiring!”

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