Michel Claessens
Michel ClaessensEditor in chief

Many scientists need no reminding of the often uneasy relationship between science and the media. Over-simplification, exaggeration, mistakes: ‘media science’ does not have much to do with ‘real’ science. A caricature at best…

However, by putting research into context, media science does help give science a more complete, living and human image, in particular by placing the news spotlight on current research and the experts engaged in it.

This is particularly evident in the field of global warming, the central theme of this issue. Media science brings to the work of scientists that which they are most lacking today: public and political visibility. Without media coverage, without media science, the IPCC would no doubt not have grabbed the attention of the politicians. Current IPCC Chairman Rajendra Kumar Pachauri recognises this explicitly in an opinion piece published in June on the SciDev (Sciences and Development) website: “The media has played a central role in spreading awareness of climate change over the past two years. I find this particularly satisfying. It is therefore fair to say that the media has helped turn public opinion in favour of action on climate change”. For their work not to be a dead letter and to bring to society the best, while avoiding the worst, is the dream of all researchers. Media science offers the scientific community this chance.