Media training for women

In 2010 a report came out with the shocking figure that male experts outnumber female experts on UK news and current affairs programmes by four to one. Despite a significant drive from broadcasters and reporters, this figure was still calculated at more than three to one in a 2015 update.

There is a need for more authoritative female voices in our media. Broadcasters themselves acknowledge that they would like to book more expert women to appear on their programmes, but struggle to find them.

The Academy is committed to supporting our women Fellows and grant awardees to play their part to help increase the number of women experts in the media. 

There are a range of reasons why women may feel uncomfortable being thrust into the media limelight and for many, the prospect of a media interview is the stuff of nightmares. The Academy is working to provide a programme of highly practical one day training courses to help women develop the confidence and skills to find their media voice. 

Since 2014, 50 of our women Fellows and 49 Grant Awardees and SUSTAIN participants have attended our media training, using a training team established specifically to help support and empower women, and we have facilitated 134 women to be listed on the Science Media Centres expert database. Participants from the media training have gone on to give interviews on popular programmes including Newsnight, the BBC’s Today programme, Victoria Derbyshire, 5Live and Women's Hour, as well as appearing in a range of print and online news articles.

 

All successful applicants to the Academy's SUSTAIN programme will have the opporunity to participate in one of these training courses. Please tick the box on your application form to indicate that you would like to take part in the training.

‘I would encourage everyone to go on this training if they get the chance. As a junior researcher, starting to dip my toe into media work, it was invaluable to experience a realistic studio interview, and get feedback from expert interviewers.' Dr Katherine Sleeman, Clinical Lecturer, King's College London

‘Facing the media is a daunting prospect for young clinicians and scientists. This training course not only told me what the media is looking for from experts, but also how to engage with them in a positive way.  I feel much more confident about dealing with the media’. Dr Estee Torok, Clinician Scientist Fellow, University of Cambridge

'This course offered remarkably bespoke training for a small group of specialist academic women. I found the unique opportunity of 'practice' in the real studios incredibly valuable.' Dr Rina Dutta, Clinician Scientist Fellow, King's College London

‘The session was incredibly useful and focused on helping you to effectively communicate your message. The hands on experience really helped build confidence.’ Dr Claire Booth, Clinical Lecturer, University College London

'I believe I can now speak up for science and medicine with greater confidence and insight than would have been the case before participating on the course.' Professor Caroline Savage FMedSci, VP and Head Experimental Medicine Unit, GlaxoSmithKline

'I now feel more confident about contributing to media debates that are important for medical science and my research. I felt cowardly leaving it to others to fight our corner but I am prepared to step up to the mark now.' Professor Susan Wray FMedSci, Professor of Physiology, University of Liverpool

'I went from terrified to relaxed through the course of the day and am now much more likely to speak publicly via the media. It really was a life changing day for me as it made me overcome many of my insecurities about interfacing with the media.' Professor Frances Platt FMedSci, Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology, University of Oxford

'It was a wonderful session, very valuable, and packed with good information. I wanted media training and I wasn't sure about the women 'thing'. But actually that was very good and there are particular things - voice, seating, clothes that are different.' Professor Irene Higginson OBE FMedSci, Professor of Palliative Care; Director of Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College London

'This is really excellent training. I found it the most useful piece of training I had done for years. It is hugely helpful for anyone engaged in science and who will end up dealing with the media. I learnt skills that will be helpful to deal with other high-pressure situations that require succinct and clear communication' Professor Anita Thapar FMedSci, Professor of Child and Adolescent, Psychiatry, Cardiff University

'I learnt much more than I expected or hoped for, the team's expertise in the workings of television media was invaluable. It gave me the confidence to work with the media in the future. The studio sessions and feedback were definitely the highlights'. Professor Anne Ridley FMedSci, Professor of Cell Biology, King's College London

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