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University of York 

Fox Lane Books is delighted to be partnering with the University of York for their events programme.

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Beyond the Hype: The Inside Story of Science's Biggest Media Controversies

Tue, 10 January 2023, 18:30 – 19:30 GMT​

Room BS/005, Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building Campus West University of York 

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Join us as writer and Chief Executive of The Science Media Centre, Fiona Fox talks about her book, Beyond the Hype: The Inside Story of Science's Biggest Media Controversies.

A Guardian Science Book of the Year 2022

‘This is how to talk about science’ Justin Webb

‘A candid inside account . . . [Fox] reveals how frontline science can be just as messy, complex and feudal as any political drama.’ Anjana Ahuja, co-author of Spike: The Virus Versus the People

Do you remember the ‘Climategate’ email leak? Or the ‘Frankenfood’-style headlines about the perils of GM foods? What about the time the government sacked its own science advisor for challenging drug laws?

Beyond the Hype takes us behind the scenes of some of the most contentious stories in science over the past two decades. From animal research and genetically modified foods to hybrid embryos and a global pandemic, it demonstrates the vital importance of scientists talking to the media – and warns of the damage to public understanding when scientists are silenced on the defining issues of our times.

Part memoir of her extraordinary time running the SMC, part manifesto for change, the book tackles big themes in science including the way government communications act as a barrier to openness in science and the way changes in our universities have left research communications vulnerable to marketisation. The book is a clarion call to protect the communication of science from politicisation.

‘The way the media covers science stories and breakthroughs has never been more important or relevant . . . This book should be recommended reading’ Jim Al-Khalili, presenter of The Life Scientific

‘The pandemic has repeatedly shown the vital necessity for accurate reporting of science . . . Fox provides some riveting stories about the ups and downs of this continuing struggle.’ David Spiegelhalter, author of The Art of Statistics

‘Engaging, illuminating, important’ Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

‘A vivid account of how journalists and scientists interact’ David Willetts, former Minister for Universities and Science

About the speaker

Fiona Fox has a degree in journalism and many years of experience working in media relations for high profile national organisations. Her career includes stints working for, amongst others, the Equal Opportunities Committee, the National Council for One Parent Families, and CAFOD (a leading aid agency).

The founding director of the Science Media Centre when it was established in 2002, under Fiona’s leadership the Centre has become an indispensable resource for science journalists. The Centre provides scientific context and comment from some of the UK’s top scientists for many major news stories thanks to the Centre’s media database, which has over 2300 such experts on it.

Fiona is a regular commentator on science in the media and was the only representative from the scientific community invited to give evidence at the Levenson Inquiry into press standards in the UK in 2012. She is an outspoken champion for openness in science and, as part of this, led a successful campaign in 2017 for changes to the British Government’s purdah rules, ensuring government funded scientists are free to speak out during election periods.

Fiona has received many accolades for her services to science, including an OBE, honorary fellowships of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Biology and the British Pharmacology Society, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol. She has received awards from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the British Neuroscience Association, and a special award from Understanding Animal Research for promoting openness in animal research.

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