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Media Monitor

Stegosaurus The Society's colour news magazine Geoscientist carried an occasional column called Media Monitor. Written by science journalist Dr Ted Nield, the magazine's former Editor, MM light-heartedly surveyed the portrayal of Earth sciences in the media and tried to draw some conclusions about the way they (or sciences in general) are communicated (or not) to the public. This page links to some of the more durable pieces that have appeared in the series.

Any wisdom about science communication that may occur scattered through these articles can be found distilled in Ted Nield's Blog, entitled "The Madness of Scientists".

Latest Media Monitor essays

  • Impact Factor - when the media tale wags the scientific dog... how the hypothesis of a major end-Cretaceous impact became linked to the Chicxulub Crater.  Geoscientist Online 18 June 2007

Media Monitor Archive.

  • Groundhog Day at the BA - life in the Media Suite at the British Association meeting, Imperial College London, 2000 (November 2000)
  • The wrong kind of stone - commentary on the Great Portico Fiasco at the British Museum (February 2001)
  • Oh no! They love us after all! Wellcome report reveals that scientists are not unpopular (April 2001)
  • In a hole - commentary on the UK Government's response to the Foot & Mouth crisis (June 2001)
  • Not just a bit of fluff - commentary on the media treatment of feathery dinos (July 2001)
  • Speaking from experience - the importance of biography in understanding and popularizing science (August 2001)
  • Luigi and the Dragon - a day in the life of the News Room at the joint GSL/GSA meeting Earth System Processes (September 2001)
  • In for the long haul - The interdisciplinary international meeting Earth System Processes (Edinburgh, June 2001) was a symbol of how geoscientists should involve the public (October 2001)
  • Sweets from Strangers - Should the BA accept advertising disguised as science news? (November 2001)
  • Fun will now commence - Is official rejoicing really an effective way of promoting science? (December 2001)
  • 2001 - Year of Geological Heritage - a retrospective of 2001, the "Jurassic Coast" and William Smith's now famous map (February 2002)
  • Without honour in his own land - a tribute to Goma volcanologist Diedonne Wafula (March 2002)
  • Russian into print - Russian science goes to market (April 2002)
  • Mayflies & Termites - The differing psychologies of scientists and media folk (May 2002)
  • The impossible may lake a little longer - The public may expect the impossible of science, but are not scientists guilty of expecting the impossible of the public? (June 2002)
  • To be or not to be:that is the question. Or is it? The moment you jettison your first teddy bear from your pram, you are playing out a plot-line that underpins much of science journalism (July 2002)
  • Oh, Oh, my ears are alight Pop songs and political speeches are not that different. So why not a line about nuclear waste repositories in Mr Blair's speech on Science and Society to the Royal? (August 2002)
  • The Road to Northampton - MM's annual review of science coverage at the British Association Meeting. This year - the role of force majeure. What can you do when you're up against September 11? (November 2002)
  • From out the azure main  - MM ponders the existence of Ferdinandea, a here today and gone tomorrow volcanic island, and the monkeys it has made out of men since 1831 (February 2003)
  • Would you Adam and Steve it? - MM bemoans the fictitious controversy surrounding things that are not controversial at all (April 2003)
  • Alas, poor Yorick - MM bemoans the death of the conference jester (August 2003)
  • Scary Stuff - The public would much rather be scared than bored, says MM (November 2003)
  • The delicate, exotic fruit - Worried the public is ingorant about science? Cheer up; they're just as ignorant about everything else. (June 2004)