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Science-communication tips from a panel-show scientist

From Nature Careers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In October 2018, I was invited to join a panel discussion about the impact of friendships on health on Today with Claire Byrne on Radio 1, published by my country’s national broadcaster, RTÉ.At the time, I was on maternity leave and was delighted to have an opportunity to discuss research again. The producers had approached me after they saw my quote in a print piece on the topic of my research. For the panel discussion, they asked me to travel to the studio — a 2-hour drive away. It was my first media appearance, but I didn’t feel nervous; the logistics of travelling with a baby were enough of a distraction.

I wrote some notes for the producers in advance, and they shared the host’s brief with me, which contained the other panellists’ notes. This way, I’d have a rough idea of what to expect on air. I was ushered into the studio during an advertisement break and only then began to feel nervous, but the conversational style of the discussion helped to put me at ease.

Since then, I’ve joined a 15-minute monthly panel discussion, hosted by Claire Byrne, alongside a medical doctor. We discuss topics that are broadly related to my research interests in social connectedness and health. The show reaches 350,000 listeners — more people than will ever read any of my journal articles.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt in reaching that audience.

Read the full article on the Nature Careers Blog –

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