Media centre: vital to US science

by Julia A. Moore, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC, USA
Nature | April 5, 2012 | Vol. 484

In my view, Colin Macilwain’s reservations over the challenges facing the planned US Science Media Center are overly pessimistic (Nature 483, 247; 2012).

No one — least of all the members of an exploratory committee for such a centre in the United States (including myself) — would deny that real differences exist between Britain and the United States in our cultures, politics, science and media. If established, a US centre (see would embrace a uniquely American model of operation to serve the country’s journalists and public understanding of science. It would adapt to its cultural landscape, just as those of Canada or Japan have.

It is precisely because of the bitter contention in the United States over issues such as climate change, stem-cell research and evolution that we need a science media centre now more than ever.

Successful science media centres in other countries have demonstrated that they improve civic discourse, because journalists are better informed about the science behind the controversies. Policy-makers can make decisions based on the best available science, and citizens can make smarter personal life choices and engage in serious political dialogue.

Click here to read the full commentary, Media centre: vital to US science (PDF).

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