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What you need when science makes the news

What benefits does the SMC Spain bring to you?
Video file

On this occasion, we've asked journalists and researchers: How does the work of SMC Spain help you? Here are their video responses.

Scholarship programme
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SMC Spain has a scholarship programme for students who want to train as science, technology, health and environmental journalists.

SMC Contents
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We offer you different formats with more or less depth and immediacy depending on current events. They have a Creative Commons licence and you can use them quoting SMC Spain as the source.

Media outlets that have used our content
SMC Profiles
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If you are part of any of these three groups, SMC Spain adapts to your needs.

What they say about the SMC
  • Perusing the SMC Spain’s content has already become a part of my daily work routine. Not only for obvious reasons, such as using quick reaction roundups to feed our reporting. I also read each SMC email thoroughly for three reasons: the statements help me to make sure I don’t miss anything important, to quickly assess the significance of a study, and they provide informed opinions to know if there is a certain level of consensus or controversy around a study. Bonus: they also put valuable sources on my radar for future reporting. 

    Javier Salas, head of El País’s Science, Health and Wellness, Technology section
  • Perusing the SMC Spain’s content has already become a part of my daily work routine. Not only for obvious reasons, such as using quick reaction roundups to feed our reporting. I also read each SMC email thoroughly for three reasons: the statements help me to make sure I don’t miss anything important, to quickly assess the significance of a study, and they provide informed opinions to know if there is a certain level of consensus or controversy around a study. Bonus: they also put valuable sources on my radar for future reporting. 

    Javier Salas, head of El País’s Science, Health and Wellness, Technology section
  • The work of the SMC Spain during its first year has been fundamental for those of us who cover science and health. On the one hand, it offers topical news content, which allows us to monitor relevant scientific issues every day, and to access diverse sources and opinions through quick reactions. This has helped us in our reporting work, to understand which topics could be more relevant or to include expert statements in our pieces. On the other hand, the explainers and analyses provide us with context when we explore science-related topics that are of general interest and public relevance.  

    I find it very important to follow current news content through quick reactions. In addition, I think the news briefings have also been of great interest.   

    I am looking forward to seeing what trainings you will offer. I think it could be a good opportunity to learn and update our knowledge. 

    Ángela Bernardo, deputy director of Fundación Ciudadana Civio
  • The work of the SMC Spain during its first year has been fundamental for those of us who cover science and health. On the one hand, it offers topical news content, which allows us to monitor relevant scientific issues every day, and to access diverse sources and opinions through quick reactions. This has helped us in our reporting work, to understand which topics could be more relevant or to include expert statements in our pieces. On the other hand, the explainers and analyses provide us with context when we explore science-related topics that are of general interest and public relevance.  

    I find it very important to follow current news content through quick reactions. In addition, I think the news briefings have also been of great interest.   

    I am looking forward to seeing what trainings you will offer. I think it could be a good opportunity to learn and update our knowledge. 

    Ángela Bernardo, deputy director of Fundación Ciudadana Civio
  • The work of the SMC is very professional and truthful. It helps me to put scientific information in context, through the opinions and assessments of prestigious specialists. What I value most is the variety of opinions and, above all, their speed, as the scientists’s reactions reach us even before the news has been made public.   

    It would be great if, when possible, an audio or video of the expert making the assessments could be attached so that broadcast journalists could use it. Sometimes it is difficult for us to access scientists, and this kind of service would save them quite a few repeat interviews.  

    Rosa Basteiro Gil, news reporter at RNE – Society
  • The work of the SMC is very professional and truthful. It helps me to put scientific information in context, through the opinions and assessments of prestigious specialists. What I value most is the variety of opinions and, above all, their speed, as the scientists’s reactions reach us even before the news has been made public.   

    It would be great if, when possible, an audio or video of the expert making the assessments could be attached so that broadcast journalists could use it. Sometimes it is difficult for us to access scientists, and this kind of service would save them quite a few repeat interviews.  

    Rosa Basteiro Gil, news reporter at RNE – Society
  • I immersed myself in science journalism, specifically health journalism, a year and a half ago--without any knowledge of the area. With no prior knowledge, and being the only journalist covering science on the channel, I felt like I was entering a jungle of figures, italicised names and impossible-to-unravel graphs, day after day. Here’s what the arrival of the Science Media Centre Spain, a few months into my new assignment, has meant for me: a team (although in this case a unidirectional one) that supports us journalists in this difficult task. Your work provides me ideas of topics to cover in my daily health section, where perhaps the hardest task is to find interesting topics day after day. It provides me with context and perspective to be fairer in my reporting, and offers essential tools to walk more confidently along the path of science journalism. Not only do you make this path easier, you also make it more beautiful.   

     

    Mar Romero Sala, health journalist for France 24 en Español
  • I immersed myself in science journalism, specifically health journalism, a year and a half ago--without any knowledge of the area. With no prior knowledge, and being the only journalist covering science on the channel, I felt like I was entering a jungle of figures, italicised names and impossible-to-unravel graphs, day after day. Here’s what the arrival of the Science Media Centre Spain, a few months into my new assignment, has meant for me: a team (although in this case a unidirectional one) that supports us journalists in this difficult task. Your work provides me ideas of topics to cover in my daily health section, where perhaps the hardest task is to find interesting topics day after day. It provides me with context and perspective to be fairer in my reporting, and offers essential tools to walk more confidently along the path of science journalism. Not only do you make this path easier, you also make it more beautiful.   

     

    Mar Romero Sala, health journalist for France 24 en Español
  • The Science Media Centre helps me to stay abreast of scientific findings and to assess the latest news. I find it very useful to check out the sources that you ask for reactions, it helps me to identify relevant specialists for each subject. Their comments also give me a better understanding of the results of studies and their possible shortcomings. The speed you show in gathering reactions to scientific news is really helpful. I miss some of that immediacy when it comes to expert briefings, although I understand that events with several specialists are more complicated to organise. In short, the SMC is a great tool for practical help and learning.   

    Lolita Belenguer, journalist at 20 Minutos, part of the Breaking news team
  • The Science Media Centre helps me to stay abreast of scientific findings and to assess the latest news. I find it very useful to check out the sources that you ask for reactions, it helps me to identify relevant specialists for each subject. Their comments also give me a better understanding of the results of studies and their possible shortcomings. The speed you show in gathering reactions to scientific news is really helpful. I miss some of that immediacy when it comes to expert briefings, although I understand that events with several specialists are more complicated to organise. In short, the SMC is a great tool for practical help and learning.   

    Lolita Belenguer, journalist at 20 Minutos, part of the Breaking news team
  • The SMC Spain is a very helpful tool to put in context new developments published in scientific journals. Independent experts provide their views on scientific findings, offering a critical look at research articles. In addition, reactions compiled by the SMC Spain are often a good thermometer to assess if an embargoed study is going to have a big impact in the mainstream press. On other occasions, they also help us to make sure we don't miss any relevant studies.  

    What I value most are the expert reactions to scientific articles that I receive in my email inbox. Even if I don't cover that particular topic, I always like to read these emails; they serve as a source of information to keep me up to date with recent scientific developments in a rigorous way.  

    What I’d like to see from the SMC in the future? I hope you keep going for many more years. Your work is very useful.  

    Núria Jar, journalist at Catalunya Ràdio, specialised in science and health
  • The SMC Spain is a very helpful tool to put in context new developments published in scientific journals. Independent experts provide their views on scientific findings, offering a critical look at research articles. In addition, reactions compiled by the SMC Spain are often a good thermometer to assess if an embargoed study is going to have a big impact in the mainstream press. On other occasions, they also help us to make sure we don't miss any relevant studies.  

    What I value most are the expert reactions to scientific articles that I receive in my email inbox. Even if I don't cover that particular topic, I always like to read these emails; they serve as a source of information to keep me up to date with recent scientific developments in a rigorous way.  

    What I’d like to see from the SMC in the future? I hope you keep going for many more years. Your work is very useful.  

    Núria Jar, journalist at Catalunya Ràdio, specialised in science and health
  • I believe that the SMC Spain provides a public service of rigorous scientific information. I am both a user and participant: As a user, I get direct opinions on current scientific issues from credible voices. As a participant, I enjoy being trusted so that my voice can be heard, alongside that of others, to provide opinions on scientific news. We set our own limits on how much we can contribute, and our own literal words are written. The potential is enormous, as different media can benefit from using direct statements and all the information that the SMC offers, all in open access.   

    For me it is a pleasure to collaborate when I can to comment on recent issues, and I only hope that the SMC’s work expands and that more media want to use this tool.  

    Pedro Gullón, lecturer of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Alcalá
  • I believe that the SMC Spain provides a public service of rigorous scientific information. I am both a user and participant: As a user, I get direct opinions on current scientific issues from credible voices. As a participant, I enjoy being trusted so that my voice can be heard, alongside that of others, to provide opinions on scientific news. We set our own limits on how much we can contribute, and our own literal words are written. The potential is enormous, as different media can benefit from using direct statements and all the information that the SMC offers, all in open access.   

    For me it is a pleasure to collaborate when I can to comment on recent issues, and I only hope that the SMC’s work expands and that more media want to use this tool.  

    Pedro Gullón, lecturer of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Alcalá
  • It is a pleasure to collaborate with the Science Media Centre Spain, and to celebrate your first anniversary. I think it is an excellent initiative. I know that I can go to your website and find comments from colleagues who are experts in each of the areas covered to try to better understand any important breakthrough or scientific finding.  

    I believe that you are doing a valuable job and that the media will gradually become more and more aware of your work. The opinions, comments and summaries that you make available to anyone who wants to use them will become increasingly important. I will continue to collaborate with you whenever you ask me to help understand new scientific findings.     

    Lluís Montoliu, research scientist at CSIC and vice-director of the National Biotechnology Centre
  • It is a pleasure to collaborate with the Science Media Centre Spain, and to celebrate your first anniversary. I think it is an excellent initiative. I know that I can go to your website and find comments from colleagues who are experts in each of the areas covered to try to better understand any important breakthrough or scientific finding.  

    I believe that you are doing a valuable job and that the media will gradually become more and more aware of your work. The opinions, comments and summaries that you make available to anyone who wants to use them will become increasingly important. I will continue to collaborate with you whenever you ask me to help understand new scientific findings.     

    Lluís Montoliu, research scientist at CSIC and vice-director of the National Biotechnology Centre
  • The Science Media Centre is a ressource that we, in the scientific community, value highly because it always seeks well-sourced information and comments from experts in the field. That is why the information is 100 % reliable, and puts maximum trust in scientists.  

    Jacob Lorenzo-Morales, director of the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands at the University of La Laguna and CIBERINFEC researcher
  • The Science Media Centre is a ressource that we, in the scientific community, value highly because it always seeks well-sourced information and comments from experts in the field. That is why the information is 100 % reliable, and puts maximum trust in scientists.  

    Jacob Lorenzo-Morales, director of the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands at the University of La Laguna and CIBERINFEC researcher
  • The SMC Spain helps to fill a gap that is currently very complex: that of accessing reliable information without having to check each item ourselves. This saves us time and effort, especially in areas where we don’t have the knowledge necessary to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information.  

    What I value most is its speed in providing information that is always based on the opinions of reliable experts, rather than on rumours.  

    Mar Faraco, president of the Association of Foreign Health Doctors (AMSE) and head of the international health service in Huelva
  • The SMC Spain helps to fill a gap that is currently very complex: that of accessing reliable information without having to check each item ourselves. This saves us time and effort, especially in areas where we don’t have the knowledge necessary to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information.  

    What I value most is its speed in providing information that is always based on the opinions of reliable experts, rather than on rumours.  

    Mar Faraco, president of the Association of Foreign Health Doctors (AMSE) and head of the international health service in Huelva
  • The SMC Spain is a rigorous tool for sharing scientific information. It provides a good selection of articles of potentially high interest, along with expert comments. I value its flair in selecting topics, its rigour in the selection of experts and its ability to effectively disseminate scientific news.  

    I hope that the SMC will be proactive in sharing mental health research, an area where we move forward quickly and many needs remain unmet.

    Eduard Vieta, scientific director of CIBERSAM
  • The SMC Spain is a rigorous tool for sharing scientific information. It provides a good selection of articles of potentially high interest, along with expert comments. I value its flair in selecting topics, its rigour in the selection of experts and its ability to effectively disseminate scientific news.  

    I hope that the SMC will be proactive in sharing mental health research, an area where we move forward quickly and many needs remain unmet.

    Eduard Vieta, scientific director of CIBERSAM
Statute
Subtítulo

The SMC Spain aims to enhance science media coverage with context, expert sources, and the best available evidence. This is the only way to improve the quality of public debates on the many topical issues linked to science. 

Read our guiding principles and objectives

Advisory Board
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This group of independent advisors provides guidance and expertise to our team. 

Read more

An international network

We are part of the international SMC network, which has seven members in different countries. Its origins lie in the creation of the UK SMC in 2002. If you would like to set up a Science Media Centre in your country, please check the requirements on the network website.

 

Global network
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A Science Media Centre (SMC) is an independent communications office that helps ensure that the public has access to the best science through the media when science hits the headlines. There are several SMCs around the world: in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Canada, Germany, Africa and Japan. Although each operates autonomously, they all come together in an international consortium. SMC Spain, launched by FECYT, has joined this network.

 

Yes, each SMC retains its independence, but we all share guiding principles with a clear mission: to enhance public debate and discussion of current affairs by bringing evidence-based information to the headlines.

We offer formats with varying degrees of depth and immediacy to cover science-related news. We produce these types of products now, with more to come in the future.

  • Reactions: when science hits the headlines, we seek the point of view of different authoritative sources that assess the news with rigour and speed, according to the available evidence and outlining the accepted consensus and controversies in the scientific community.
  • Expert voices: each one of these pieces is an in-depth, more relaxed analysis of a topical issue commented on by specialists in that subject. These ‘expert voices’ put news stories into context, especially those involving controversies of social interest, which can be easily misinterpreted.
  • What we know: the SMC team produces explanatory articles on topical issues to answer society’s questions, with the necessary context and depth. The sources and resources used to produce the article are always provided.
  • Resource library: guides on different scientific topics for journalists and communication departments. Also, hints and suggestions are aimed at research staff, to help them when dealing with the media.
  • Briefings: we bring together journalists and scientific sources to answer questions and discuss current issues. These can be face-to-face or virtual. Registration is required.

The contents are aimed at three profiles: journalists, research staff and press office technicians. Through these three audiences, the work of SMC Spain will also reach the public.

The Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence allows them to be republished in whole or in part, citing SMC Spain as the source. In the case of content signed by an author, the media outlet must cite SMC Spain and the author. In addition, if the content is disseminated via the Internet, it must be linked to the SMC Spain website.

The Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence allows the contents to be republished in whole or in part, citing SMC Spain as the source. In the case of content signed by an author, the media outlet must cite SMC Spain and the author. In addition, if the content is disseminated via the Internet, it must be linked to the SMC Spain website.

The only specific agenda an SMC must have is to promote the dissemination of evidence-based science. Therefore, it must maintain its operational and editorial independence. This is achieved by:

  • A statute that ensures the independence of SMC Spain, avoiding any kind of interference in its contents, whatever the subject matter.
  • An Advisory Committee composed of a group of independent volunteer advisors from the fields of science, engineering, medicine, journalism, and communication, who provide expertise and advice.

In addition to independence in governance, another key element for SMCs is sustained funding over time. Some have achieved this through an external multi-funding model, with a cap on grants for each funding body, which ensures that their activity is not subject to the interests of any one institution.

Other SMCs operate with state public funding and small private donations. The Spanish SMC has been launched with funding from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT).

They are different media with different content: the SINC agency team produces news, reports, and interviews on different current scientific topics, while the editors of SMC Spain focus on gathering quick reactions from expert sources, write explanatory pieces that do not amount to reports (the ‘what we know’ articles) and write guides on different topics for researchers and journalists.

The only format they have in common is the opinion pieces written by scientists (called ‘expert voices’ in SMC Spain).

  • It is not a repository of press releases.
  • It is not a press office that provides journalists with contacts to scientists.
  • It is not a regular media outlet with news, features and interviews; that is the SINC agency.