Fiona Fox, Director of the Science Media Centre, London, UK:
“After eight years of working at the front line of science in the media I am ever more convinced that good media relations work is critical to good quality science coverage. Emma Mason and Mary Rice are amongst the most skilful, experienced and reliable science press officers the SMC has worked with and I continue to recommend them to anyone who asks my advice. Their backgrounds in journalism and in organisations such as cancer charities and the MRC and their many years of working for scientific journals and international science conferences make them perfect for research groups with controversial and complex issues to communicate to the national and international media. Emma and Mary’s commitment to accuracy and balance is equalled only by their professionalism, passion for medical science stories and their unparalleled commitment to improving the quality of science journalism.”
Pippa Powell, European Lung Foundation Manager, and Lauren Anderson, European Lung Foundation Press and Communications:
“The European Respiratory Society is a membership organisation that hosts an annual congress profiling all the latest developments in lung health and disease to its 20,000 attendees and beyond. In 2011, for the first time, the European Lung Foundation (ELF), its public-facing sister organisation, was tasked with managing the press activities for the congress. With an in-house press team of one and with no experience of running a press office at such a large conference, it was a daunting task and we looked to RiceMason for support and guidance for the whole process….and that is what we got.
“Mary and Emma provided the right amount of encouragement, advice, examples and expectations to enable us to run a successful event. Pre-conference face-to-face meetings and teleconferences helped with the abstract selection and writing of releases. Importantly for us, Mary and Emma allowed complete flexibility, acting as enablers for our in-house staff rather than insisting on carrying out all tasks themselves. Local expertise during the congress helped with trouble shooting and press conference management and, again, in general confidence building for our own press officer. Our experience of working with Mary and Emma has allowed us to pull off a professional first attempt at a press office but, more importantly, to develop in-house capabilities ourselves. Hopefully we will have to ask fewer questions of RiceMason next time!”
Phil Bishop – Senior Publisher, Clinical Medicine – Oxford University Press:
“Emma manages the PR for several titles in the clinical medicine journals portfolio at OUP to great success. She is a pleasure to work with, being very professional and efficient with authors, Editors-in-Chief, editorial, and marketing staff to achieve excellent international, accurate coverage. Not only does Emma have a good eye for what will make a story in the wider media, she has the skills to translate often very complex clinical information into copy that works for journalists.”
Professor Joris Veltman, co-chair of the Scientific Programme Committee of the European Society of Human Genetics:
“Mary Rice always does a great job for our society to promote the most exciting science presented at our annual ESHG conference and attract attention from the international press. She actively works with colleagues, who are often totally inexperienced in engaging with the public, to present their work in a manner that is attractive to the media but stays truthful to the core of the scientific discovery with all its uncertainties and limitations. Mary’s expertise and networks are critical to our society, and her involvement has allowed us to become a trusted source for genetic information. It is a genuine pleasure working with her and her team!“
Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:
“The effective dissemination of medical research can sometimes save more lives than an individual doctor can save in a lifetime. In this domain Mary Rice is a skilled practitioner. Her qualifications are the intellectual energy to challenge scientific obfuscation, the integrity to report truthfully and the communications skills and media networks to bring scientific results to the widest possible audience.”
Pallab Ghosh, BBC Science Correspondent,
(informal verbal feedback to Emma):
“What I find useful is that I’ve known you and Mary for a very long time and I trust your judgement. You know exactly what we want, you give us information that is true and accurate, and you don’t hype things. So I know that when you and Mary call saying you’ve got a story, then I know that it is.”
José Abad, science journalist, El Pais, Madrid, Spain:
“I have had the opportunity to work together with Mary Rice, Emma Mason and Kerry Noble at several major international medical conferences. As a science journalist, I very much admire their professionalism, particularly their capability to transform abstruse texts from scientific papers into rigorous, newsworthy press releases and press conferences.
“They display an extraordinary talent to fit urgent media requirements with world-class researchers’ tight agendas. Always working with an extremely high number of attending members of the press, this capability is indeed a key issue in order to provide journalists with a satisfactory, even personalised media service.
“I also appreciate their thoroughness in setting and preparing every step of the communication process, from the first briefings with organising committees, up to the analysis of journalists’ feedback and the monitoring of media coverage, as well as their engagement with honesty as the best communication policy.”