Fiona Fox, Director of the Science Media Centre, London, UK:
“After eighteen 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, Kerry Noble 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, Kerry 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.”
Beth Maguire, European Respiratory Society Press and Communications:
“The European Respiratory Society is a membership organisation that hosts an annual congress covering the latest developments in lung health to 20,000+ attendees each year. Since 2017, Kerry and Emma have supported ERS’s small in-house press team to deliver a successful and impactful congress press programme. Kerry and Emma lead on the review and selection of abstracts, using their expertise to structure the programme effectively, write press releases, support presenters to prepare for press briefings, and field media enquiries before and during the conference. Their guidance and encouragement through 2020, when our annual congress went fully virtual for the first time, was extremely valuable and ensured we maintained a high standard and secured great coverage for research presented during the event.
“ERS also publishes original research throughout the year in our portfolio of journals. Since 2017, Kerry has supported the work of the press office by identifying and promoting newsworthy research as it comes through the journals, by reviewing accepted manuscripts and writing and issuing news releases. Over the years, Kerry has also provided invaluable support to our in-house press team of one – giving advice and guidance that has helped to develop their skills and confidence in science communication.”
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.”
Dr Claire Bithell, head of communications, Academy of Medical Sciences, UK:
“I always know that Kerry will deliver first class communications advice and support. From stepping in to provide press office cover on some of our biggest news stories, to training staff to write engaging web copy, to writing some of our most popular profiles and comment pieces, Kerry is a complete joy to work with. She always has a positive outlook, works competently and independently, has astute news and political judgement and quickly builds good relationships with spokespeople and staff members.”
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.”
Peter Goodwin, Editor, Audio Medica:
“Mary and Emma are pretty well unique in the field of press guidance for significant medical conferences! They actually understand all of the topics: so you can get a verbal brief from them as well as using their write-ups which are as good as any we journalists can produce anyway.
“They also know the doctors and scientists personally, so they can pick them out at the conference for us, and even brief us accurately on the approach we should take to get our story. And because the experts respect them, it is normally possible for Mary and Emma to fix up interviews during the conference – something which is so “hit and miss” at conferences they are not involved with (such as ASCO, ACC, AHA, ESC and the like) that we journalists never assume that the press office at a congress can be relied upon to do this, even when the best intentions are undoubtedly there.
“I would estimate that I can increase my coverage of a conference by 50% to 100% if Mary and Emma are involved with organising the press facilities. I could go on ……..!!”