The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, not-for-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise. We aim to better inform public debate on the major issues of the day by improving links between the media and the scientific community. The Centre works with journalists to help them cover science as well as identify the science angles in everyday news stories and works with the scientific community to help them interact more effectively with the media and ensure that their voices are heard on issues of national importance.
Over 1,100 journalists now receive our alerts and 4,000 scientists have joined our database. Each year, the AusSMC fields around 2,500 media enquiries from journalists.
In its first 10 years of operation, the Centre has triggered or injected evidence-based comment into more than 100,000 news reports (40% in overseas media outlets) and informed more than 300 mainstream issues such as natural disasters, climate change, radiation safety, mobile phones and health, water resources, bushfires, nanotechnology, stem cell research and cancer.
- Independent – With a broad range of sponsors and by capping individual contributions to 10% of total operating costs, the AusSMC is able to provide an independent service and a spectrum of opinion from the scientific community without fear or favour.
- Media driven – While most issues we cover are driven by the level of media interest, the AusSMC also plays a role in providing journalists with heads-up on emerging issues.
- Proactive – The AusSMC is constantly ‘horizon scanning’ looking for situations where science can help clarify an issue.
- Collaborative – When scientists from different institutions are involved with the same media story, the AusSMC can provide an independent platform, enabling coordinated distribution of the message to the media.
The AusSMC has been providing a vital service to the Australian media and scientific community since 2005 and a five-year evaluation showed enormous support for the Centre amongst journalists, scientists and media managers.