Training on Science and Media / by Francisco Blaha

A almost constant in my life is that I have started working or getting involved in area and then later on did some studies on it. I got into blogging because the template in which I developed my website had a blog page and a picture gallery so I just started to add content, but there is more to that.

Media training in for science in action

Media training in for science in action

A couple of times I have run into trouble for the contents of my blog posts, because I’m quite honest (candid?) about my limitations, issues and problems and I instinctively pass this attitude to of some of the issues we face in fishing. I fell like if I put them “on the table”, it means that I recognise them and I’m in control of what I need to do.

Other people see this as portraying your failures, and those who run a different agenda can use this info against you.… and I understand those sensitivities, yet I still think that total honesty and transparency about my failures is the best road to take, since you take the power “off” your critics and place it under what you are doing to change.

Yet being “out there” and having opinions (like the ones in this blog)  exposes you to the media… and as anything you do, it has advantages and disadvantages. Hence how to deal with media requires some training, and that is an opportunity I never had… until today, here at the University of Auckland.

A month ago I applied for one of the 12 places at the Science Media SAVVY workshop of the New Zealand Science Media Centre*, and luckily I was chosen to participate.

This is a two-day workshop designed to encourage effective media engagement, build skills and confidence, and enable scientists to navigate a range of media encounters with success.

More than basic media training, this course has been built from the ground up to meet the needs of scientists and researchers. It offer practical exercises to help researchers explain complex ideas clearly, introduce tools and strategies for connecting with new audiences, all while providing feedback and support from fellow researchers.

The workshop also offers a unique chance to make valuable media contacts and gain first -hand insight into news media practices during an invited journalists’ panel and newsroom tour. New skills are then put to the test with the chance to pitch research stories directly to interested reporters.

Their programme says that:
Researchers on the SAVVY course will:
  • gain insight into what works for media
  • work out compelling ways to explain tough concepts
  • learn to be enthusiastic without losing credibility
  • improve their on-camera presence with simulated TV interviews
  • get advice on handling risk and controversy
  • practice saying what they really mean to under pressure
  • learn how scientists can use social media to their advantage

And so far so good! I’m leaning a lot and interacting with people that are way clever than me. Issues around how to structure the message and how to deal with media, body language, editorial keywords not only from the perspective of my opinion being sought, but also from the content I’m creating.

is a delicate balance, and one I'm sure I don't always get right. But then, if would not have takes risk over my life, I will still piling hake boxes in the hold of a rusty trawler in Argentina. I hope i can use this training to improve on this blog. Watch the space


*The  Science Media Centre is an independent, publicly - funded resource for New Zealand  scientists and journalists covering science -related issues. their aim is to promote accurate, evidence - based reporting on science and research by helping the media work more closely with the scientific community.