Reflection: Bioethics & the Media workshop- an IME Postgrad event

In case you missed our IME Post grad event on the 31st March 2021, Nienke de Graeff has written a short piece of reflection for what was a very successful event.

By Comfort King · April 16, 2021

On March 31st, the PSC organized a workshop on ‘Bioethics & the Media’. As ethicists advance in their careers, they are increasingly likely to be asked to present their views in diverse news outlets, yet few graduate students receive any training/mentorship on how (and how not) to do this, what platforms to choose, what may be potential pitfalls, etcetera. This workshop provided a space for young scholars in the field of ethics to learn more about this, by getting practical tips and tricks, practicing their skills in a safe environment, and learning from experts in the field.

The workshop consisted of three key elements. First, Sophia Griffiths MA – the communications officer for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics – gave a presentation giving advice on how effectively communicate research to the media, ensuring that you manage to convey the central message you want to get across. She also gave practical advice about how to get your research noticed by the media, and how to control your nerves in order to do the best job possible when being interviewed. We are incredibly grateful to Sophia who put a huge amount of time and energy into helping design the workshop and was absolutely instrumental to its success.

This presentation was followed by an opportunity for the attendees to apply what they had learned. They were split into break out rooms, and members of the PSC facilitated mock ‘interviews’ based on information about each individuals research, which has been gathered prior to the workshop. Following this exercise, the groups were given time to reflect upon the experience. The workshop concluded with a panel discussion in which Dr. Sarah Chan, Dr. Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra and Dr. Sridhar Venkatapuram shared their insights and advice based on their own experiences of engaging with the media about their research. After the workshop was concluded, there was an informal get together through an online platform called SpatialChat.

The workshop was attended from postgraduate researchers from around the world – with participants from as far afield as the USA and Singapore. The feedback we have received has been very positive, with participants saying that the workshop was “well organised”, “informative” and a “great experience”. Though the number of attendees was limited by the need to ensure an interactive experience, some of the advice that was given during the workshop was shared on the PSC twitter so that more people could benefit from this.

Members of the panel discussion 

A few of the workshop participants