Science Media Centre
Bisson joined the Science Media Centre in early 2012, having volunteered there the previous year. Bisson 'is responsible for maintaining the website and expert database, writing factsheets and briefing notes, and managing the volunteer programme'.
Views on science communication
Considering the potential for an American Science Media Centre in a September 2013 article for RealClearScience magazine, Bisson writes:
- The UK SMC has pulled researchers out of their ivory towers and trained a volunteer network able to help reporters make complex science understandable to the general public. It has emboldened the science community to speak out during debates over issues like the regulation of human-animal embryos and the discredited theory that autism could be caused by the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. It also has enabled scientists and journalists to engage before controversies make headlines.
- The early days of the UK SMC were hardly smooth sailing for founding director Fiona Fox and her then staff of two. Many of Britain’s science and media establishment questioned whether the SMC was needed. Critics doubted it could navigate the difficult terrain of animal use in biomedical research and the brave new world of genomics.
- Eleven years later, the UK SMC’s mission remains the same: supplying the ever-hungry news media with expert reaction to new research, scientific opinion on breaking stories, and carefully presented press briefings on sensitive topics from suicide to shale gas. While largely working behind the scenes, the SMC is a firmly entrenched part of the British media landscape. Most of its doubters have been won over but critics remain, as a recent feature in Nature explored.
- [A] U.S. SMC will doubtless be of great use to reporters and scientists in this new era. It will provide a reliable beacon in a world of pervasive misinformation.
- Twitter: @RobinBisson
- Robin Bisson (2013), H, ow the British Are Saving Science Journalism, RealClearScience
- Robin Bisson's personal blog
- Science Media Centre (2013), Staff, accessed 9 August 2013
- See Ewen Callaway (2013), Science media: Centre of attention, Nature, 10 July 2013, accessed 17 September 2013
- Robin Bisson (2013), How the British Are Saving Science Journalism, RealClearScience, 3 September 2013, accessed 17 September 2013