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Book review: Beyond the Hype by Fiona Fox


Daniel Cressey reads an insider’s take on the relationship between research and journalism

Fiona Fox is a consummate science insider. In her new book Beyond the Hype (Elliott and Thompson), she recounts why she threw then-minister Michael Meacher out of a press conference and she recalls a run-in with then-Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger after she arranged a briefing that criticised a BBC drama he co-wrote about genetic modification of crops.

But the story of the Science Media Centre, which Fox set up 20 years ago and where she remains chief executive, is not just about who shouted at whom. By channelling expert comment to journalists, the centre has become a major component in media coverage of research. What subjects it covers, and what comments it sends out, influences the news and by extension the public.

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