Are you keen to build your skills and experience with the media? Perhaps you work in an area of research that impacts the public and you see outreach as a part of your role. Or you may be aware that good communication skills are highly valued by many organisations and want to build your profile and showcase your abilities? Sound like you?
The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) has recently created Scimex, a new breaking-science news portal for Australia and New Zealand. If you are an expert in a particular research area and are comfortable with or keen to be more involved in the media—you should register as an expert on Scimex.
Scimex is underpinned by the work of AusSMC, an independent not-for-profit organisation that strives to increase the quantity and quality of evidence-based science stories in the mainstream media. Whilst we are here to benefit the public, we do this indirectly by working with scientists, journals, research organisations and reporters. We have expertise in identifying the most relevant research news for an Australian audience and present these to journalists in a way that is easy to use. In recent times, thousands of reporters were lost from newsrooms across the country. In particular, we lost many specialist reporters in areas such as science, medicine and the environment. Now fewer journalists are under increasing pressure to pump out more stories as the public’s appetite for 24-hour news and highly visual ‘click-bait’ increases. Noticing this change, the AusSMC conducted a survey to find out what we could do to help journalists cover science stories.
Scimex is the culmination of the answers of this journalist survey. The Scimex newsfeed enables journalists to see breaking science news online, any time day or night. Importantly, our agreements with journal publishers and relationships with key research organisations mean that we can offer this news under embargo a few days before publication. This extra time allows journalists to plan their stories, get expert comment and write with less pressure.
Scimex also offers the media a Find an Expert service where a journalist can search for an expert who is comfortable to be involved in a media story. They can search on topic, keywords and location, and see examples of prior media work and what types of media the expert is comfortable with, such as live TV, live or pre-recorded radio, and print. Experts on Scimex can also pitch story ideas to journalists. Unlike the longer media release these can be just a sentence or two with a potential story angle or a picture that you think people may be interested in.
We are also just about to launch the Scimex Multimedia Hub and Events Calendar. You may have a collection of interesting images, videos or podcasts that you want to share—Scimex will allow you to put them up for journalists to use. Likewise the new events calendar is a place to upload an up-coming conference, seminar series or special event that journalists may be interested in. Many reporters want to look in their local state and nationally to get story ideas on what is going on that day.
Whilst citations are important for career success in research, public engagement is increasingly valued by universities and institutes. Becoming a recognised expert when a particular topic is being debated and discussed means that you will be more engaged with the people who are directly impacted by your research. Funding bodies also look for research relevance. Being able to share what you are doing with the media and being discussed by the public is an excellent way to demonstrate this. Growing evidence suggests that citations can also be boosted by a researcher’s media profile as they become better known for their expertise.
We hope we have convinced you to join us as an expert on Scimex! Don’t forget to also sign up for our weekly Science Deadline newsletter, either on the Scimex registration form or the AusSMC website. Science Deadline is a great way to stay up to date with the work of the centre and what is new on Scimex. If you have any questions feel free to get in contact with the AusSMC team: 08 71208666 or email@example.com.
Dr Melanie Bagg
Business Development & Partnerships Manager
The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)
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