Friday, 26 October 2012

I recently finished a month-long British Science Association Media Fellowship, spending three weeks at Nature and one week at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen. I’ve talked more about my thoughts on this experience at the Wellcome Trust blog.

I’m now left wondering what on Earth I am going to do with all my newfound skillz. See, I exist at a leisurely gastropod-like pace, whereas the news media seems to be more of a fast-moving cephalopod. Science=three year deadlines that can meander off in an unexpected direction at any point; news=short window until it’s too old for anyone to really care. So using this blog to write about scientific advances (my pre-placement plan) is a pretty stupid idea unless I’m going to add something that isn’t already being said faster and better by a professional news outlet. Mollusc-based metaphors, sadly, aren’t quite enough; I think I’m going to have to develop opinions. We will see how that turns out.

Anyway, I’d recommend applying for a Media Fellowship to any scientists who are interested in how the news works. Then, you too, can be plunged into a metaphysical quandary about your place in the science media world.

Oh, and here’s my big self-aggrandising list of things what I wrote while on my media placement:

Nature News articles and blog posts:

Scientists do the wet dog shake
Nerve growth factor linked to ovulation
Helium reveals gibbon’s soprano skill
There are fewer microbes out there than you think
Resistance to backup tuberculosis drugs increases
Hepatitis C drug trial halted after patient death
Photosynthesis-like process found in insects

Research Highlights and News in Brief:

Rodent that cannot gnaw
Infection breaks truce
Inflamed guts boost bad bacteria
Cigarette smoke boosts biofilms
Hepatitis C halt
Resistance warning

Wellcome Trust Blog articles:

From growth media to news media
No such thing as a stupid question
When the drugs don't work

British Science Association website:

Stereotypes form by ‘Chinese whispers’
Sex and sewage
Cows and cars
Sensing hidden oil reserves
Shock – balanced diet is healthy!

Image: Neurons in the brain – illustration. Benedict Campbell. Wellcome Images