Media training for scientists

Comments on the course from previous participants:
“The thing I liked most about the workshop was the chance to get on the other side of the camera/microphone for the first time with real journos!”Grant Drummond
post-doctoral fellow, Howard Florey Institute
“I learnt heaps – as demonstrated by the way our stories developed throughout the day. Highly recommended to all Fellows.”Tracey Bessell
PhD candidate, Monash Institute of Health Sciences Research
“I was a little skeptical about the course, but I found it very useful. It was practical, and I gave it the highest scores in the assessment at the end.” Professor Graham Farquhar
Deputy CEO Greenhouse Accounting CRC

Science in Public holds regular media training courses for scientists in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in collaboration with our colleagues from Econnect Communication. These courses are fundamentally different to corporate media training. They are designed to help you understand what  the media needs to bring your work to life, and to help you work out how to help the media tell your story accurately.

If you’re interested in attending, or have any questions, please contact Niall – or (03) 9398 1416. Courses will be confirmed once a minimum of five participants have registered.

We will hold more media training courses outside Melbourne if there’s sufficient demand. We welcome expressions of interest for possible future courses. If you can deliver four people we can probably find others in your area.

For more details please read on or download our media training flyer.

Media forums

We run ‘meet the media’ forums on request. We look at what makes science newsworthy? What do the media expect of scientists and science organisations? In these one-hour sessions, a panel of working journalists from print, radio and TV will discuss what they and their audiences are looking for in their stories.

The forum will give you an introduction to the needs and challenges of TV news, radio and the daily press. It will also give you the chance to turn the table on the media – you get to ask the questions.

If you’re interested in holding a media forum, please contact Niall – or (03) 9398 1416.

Media training for scientists – course details

Our media training workshop will help you feel comfortable with the media and have more control over your media appearances. Working journalists from television, radio and newspapers will interview you and will also answer your questions.

The course will help you with all your non-scientific communication with stakeholders, customers and the media. And it will give your media advisers confidence that you will be a good performer when media opportunities arise.

Our course features two experienced science communicators as presenters and three working journalists from television, print and radio who will interview you during the course of the day.

Science in Public’s creative director Niall Byrne usually presents the course together with Tim Thwaites, our resident science writer and broadcaster, or Sarah Brooker, our managing director.

The journalists for each course are confirmed a few days before the course.

Journalists who have been involved include Ben McNair from Channel 7 news, Blanche Clark from The Herald Sun, Bridie Smith from The Age and Donna Demaio from 3AW radio news.

  • Courses start at 9.30 am and finish by 5 pm
  • Melbourne courses are generally held at The Clare Café, 421 Rathdowne St, Carlton (cnr Palmerston St)
  • Sydney courses are generally held at The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre (located with the Sydney Harbour YHA), 110 Cumberland St, The Rocks
  • Canberra courses are generally held at the Australian Academy of Science, Ian Potter House, Gordon St, Canberra
  • Refreshments and lunch provided
  • Cost is $814 ($740 + GST) per person
  • Numbers are limited to 12 people

Reserve a place by emailing or calling (03) 9398 1416

Interested in other science communication courses?

Econnect logoThe workshop structure is licensed from our friends at Econnect Communication. They run a range of workshops including:

  • presenting science
  • talking science with the media
  • communicating science
  • engaging the public with science
  • managing media issues and crises.

For more details visit their workshop page at

More about the media training workshop

We supply participants with details of the venue and any other arrangements. Please note the outline below is indicative only as we tailor each workshop according to the needs of participants, as determined at the beginning of the workshop.

We will invoice prior to the course. The fee is payable in advance and will be forfeited if you cancel less than seven days prior.

The course in detail

This practical workshop will help you:

  • know what to expect when the media does a story
  • practise your interview techniques with working journalists
  • get your message out as accurately as possible

Specific topics include:

  • what makes a good TV, radio or print story
  • how to take control of the media agenda
  • making the big announcement
  • what to do when a journalist knocks on your door
  • handling difficult questions
  • organising a good media release
  • in the hot seat – interview practice with working journalists.

The workshop objectives are:

  • to understand the media and how it operates
  • to develop some skills and confidence in dealing with media interviews
  • to apply principles of message-design to media management.

The workshop evaluation is:

  • reaction-based – workshop feedback sheet provided at end of workshop and results collated
  • learning – assessment of learning on an individual basis is provided throughout the workshop by both oral and written feedback
  • behavioural – individual feedback provided as skills are practised in the workshop, plus individual feedback forms.

Program outline

1.  Introduction, objectives of workshop
2. TV news
  • TV news journalist – presentation and discussion about what makes TV news stories work
  • Demo interview with one participant on video
  • Individual interviews on video while rest of group looks at:
    • Packaging TV news story
    • Preparing the ‘grab’
3. Print media journalist
  • Presentation and discussion about what major metro newspapers require to make a story work
4. Media releases and shaping your story
5. Radio
  • Radio journalist discusses the various formats of radio and what is required from radio to make a story work
  • Demonstration interviews of news, program and current affairs interviews
  • Individual interviews with radio journalist while rest of group looks at:- their TV interviews
    • controlling agenda with radio
    • dealing with more controversial/difficult interviews
    • what to do when the media comes unexpectedly to you
6. Evaluation of workshop
  • Tuesday 19 July
  • Wednesday 7 September
  • Tuesday 18 October

§Tuesday 19 July

§Wednesday 7 September

§Tuesday 18 October