Last week I attended a terrific workshop. It was a media awareness session designed to help young scientists understand the media and possible interactions they may have with the media over the course of their careers. I’m going to do a couple of long posts on our Personal Genomics blog (because they are less about bioinformatics tools than we usually focus on here). The well-designed workshop was sponsored by Sense About Science, a UK group that has been working for years to get good science in the media and challenge bad science, and The Cambridge Science Festival.
But I think it’s important to mention this to genomics peeps because our field has a lot of responsibility and a lot of opportunity in the next few years. The “disappointment” that some media sources reflected on the human genome anniversary were frustrating. The potential that we have for great stuff in the next few years is huge. And we need to keep the public on our side to make sure they want to keep paying for the work we need to do.
But unless we participate in telling the real stories, it will be out of our hands. We also risk the wrong people getting media attention and telling crap and crankery stories and undermining the work. So I’ll be posting 2 pieces (broken out because they are long) about scientists who have guidance on working with the media, and from science journalists telling us what they need from us to make the stories great. If we can work together in a constructive way, we’ll be able to convey the excitement of discovery and the benefits of our work, properly.