[ASC-list] World class

Julian Cribb jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au
Fri Jun 4 01:25:11 UTC 2010

A few media realities.

500+ media releases hit the newsdesk every day.  They get about 0.3 second's
scrutiny and are then deleted. Who is going to read a note to the editor?

As mentioned, the news editors are not interested in science.  They are
interested in a strong news story. Any news story. If the science story
doesn't sell itself immediately, it gets deleted.

In many, many science stories the new discovery or advance is so subtle and
incremental as not to be apparent to a non-scientist. How do you explain the
detail of genetics or nanoparticles to someone in 0.3 of a second? Answer:
you don't. you use an eye-catching phrase like 'breakthrough" which says
"read me" to the editor.

As I say, I don't like it, and try to find cunning ways around it. But
that's real life in a newsroom.

As to "branding" - that is absolute rubbish in science. Branding is for
industries that produce products that are very like someone else's products
- toothpaste, beer, cars or T-shirts. Science does not need to brand because
it is, by its very nature, unique. Scientific institutions do not need to
brand because (a) it looks cheap, commercial and lacking in confidence (b)
their unique identify is already established by reputation they gain for
excellent science.

To gain a good reputation a science institution only has to communicate the
real value of its work to society - not try to conjure up a synthetic image
by paying a brandmeister big slabs of money that could otherwise be used for
R&D, to redo their letterhead and business cards.

I have a whole section on this - and the waste it entails - in my latest
book 'Open Science' (CSIRO Publishing 2010).

Julian Cribb FTSE
Julian Cribb & Associates
ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245

-----Original Message-----
From: Adrienne Jones (Scribewyse) [mailto:scribewyse at aapt.net.au] 
Sent: Friday, 4 June 2010 11:03 AM
To: Julian Cribb; 'Derek Elmes'; longneck at cyllene.uwa.edu.au;
asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] World class

You are REALLY talking science Julian!! But why not break this nexus by 
letting the story itself convince the editors, if it really IS world-class 
(etc) - without including the branding/marketing pitch in the story?  (Can 
do that in a note to editors perhaps, if it's a necessary evil, but I don't 
agree that it is?)

Adrienne Jones
ABN 66 420 408 120
(Writing Editing Media+)
T: 61 3 94313491
M: 61 425 300 776
E: scribewyse at aapt.net.au

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