Where science meets the headlines – A decade of the New Zealand Science Media Centre

Where science meets the headlines – A decade of the New Zealand Science Media Centre

Author: Rebecca Priestley – Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Dacia Herbulock – NZ Science Media Centre / Science in Society group, Victoria University of Wellington

A decade ago, New Zealand’s Science Media Centre launched as part of a government strategy to engage citizens with science and technology. It adapted the model pioneered by the UK’s Science Media Centre, linking experts drawn from across the science system directly with journalists in response to breaking news and emerging research results.

However, in New Zealand’s fragmented media landscape, specialist science reporters have always been rare and relentless restructuring of newsrooms has led to extremely high journalist turnover in recent years. In this context, many aspects of the UK’s model (including privileging a capital city-based, centralized press pool) needed to be radically altered to meet local conditions. This research, by a New Zealand Science Media Centre advisor and an academic who was working as a science journalist at the time the NZSMC was formed, draws on archival sources, surveys of media, and in-depth interviews to examine a decade of operations of the New Zealand Science Media Centre and highlight how the New Zealand model differs from European models, such as the UK and German models, already discussed in the literature. A wider critique of international SMC models is timely as other nations consider adopting – or adapting – the SMC model to their country.

As part of this presentation, Priestley will reflect on her own experience working in science journalism before and after the introduction of the New Zealand Science Media Centre.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Comparing science communication across cultures