Why the AusSMC can help you:
Our remit is to better inform public debate on the major issues of the day by improving links between the media and the scientific community and increasing the accuracy of scientific coverage in the news.
The AusSMC has gained a reputation for being independent, fast and accurate, and for delivering good science in the form and time-frame needed for news. We work closely with all the major news outlets in Australia (and many further afield) and are used to dealing with controversial and sensitive topics under tight deadlines.
The AusSMC now has over 1,400 journalists who have actively registered to receive our alerts. While most of the 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 and upcoming stories.
We are not attempting to promote our own name and work constantly with the most-respected scientific journals and institutions. It is however important to note that we are a service for the news media not a PR service and while our activities can help promote your institution this is not our primary role.
We are also part of an international network of Science Media Centres meaning that the work we produce is shared around the world.
How we can help get your scientists in the news:
Scimex (the Science Media Exchange) is our online science news portal aimed primarily at helping journalists cover science. The site features a Newsfeed, our ‘Find an Expert’ database of media-savvy scientists, a science events calendar and multimedia hub. For more information on this news portal and to register click here.
Expert Reactions take two forms:
1/ When a story is breaking that has a science angle, the AusSMC will issue an Expert Reaction – a series of unedited quotes from experts in the relevant area who are up to date on the story and willing to talk. This reaction to a breaking story can be invaluable as a source of direct quotes, as a gauge of expert opinion and background information or as a source of talent for interview. They are issued as soon as possible after a story breaks.
2/ Scientific and medical journals are a regular source of scientific news, but making sense of them can be a nightmare. In this case, Expert Reactions provide journalists with context and independent expert comment to help decipher the research. This is all done while the story is still under embargo so that the comments and opinions of experts can be incorporated into stories as they are being written.
The most frequent way in which we can help your scientists reach the media is by adding research from your organisation to our twice-weekly embargoed media alert distributed at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Fridays. These alerts outline what the AusSMC considers the most newsworthy new research, reports and related material being published by the scientific community that week. The journalists know that we select only the most significant research each week and the journals trust us with their embargoed material.
Heads-up for Affiliates
If your institution is an affiliate of ours then you are able to receive a special version of our Heads-up alert, designed for media officers, which will enable you to be one step ahead of the game in the news cycle. Contact us for more information on becoming an Affiliate.
The AusSMC operates an expert database which we use to source experts for briefings, round-ups and media enquiries. The more of your experts we have on this database the more likely we are to contact them with media opportunities. The database is not open to journalists so the privacy of your experts can be maintained at a level they are comfortable with. The AusSMC policy on selection of experts is available here.
The AusSMC has over 4,000 experts on file who cover every topic from alcohol addiction to zoology and takes dozens of media enquiries a week from journalists.
When a story is big or complex enough the AusSMC runs national briefings for journalists around Australia and beyond. The central topic of a briefing must have broad news appeal. Experts are asked to give short presentations and answer media questions – on the record. All briefings are streamed live over the Internet making them easily accessible to journalists throughout the country. The AusSMC operates two types of media briefings, ‘News Briefings’ where new research or data is being released, and ‘Background Briefings’ where experts discuss an issue which is in the news or an issue the AusSMC considers newsworthy. Please let us know if you have an idea for a briefing we could run together. For more information on briefing guidelines click here.
Getting more from the AusSMC
The AusSMC has a collaborative program which encourages organisations to become Affiliates of the Science Media Centre. By becoming an Affiliate your organisation can become even more actively involved in how science is reported in the media. You will be adding your support to a growing movement that encourages and supports evidence-based reporting. Contact us for more information on becoming an Affiliate.
What we are not
The AusSMC IS NOT:
- Responsible for increasing the profile of specific concepts or areas of science (eg: chemistry, physics etc) in the media;
- A PR agency for institutions that do not have access to a media office;
- Set up to take general enquiries directly from the public or non-media institutions.