Friday, 19 February 2010

Returning from the bench, where only science nerds dwell

It's an odd thing, planning to head back to my old industry of sport after nearly two years in health and medical public relations. 

Many of my UK and US contacts are in health and science and I've had the occasional display of surprise when I say I want to return to sports PR. For science communicators, sports writing and promotion is often a foreign and unknown quantity, something that was made plain by this comment from a fellow science writer yesterday:

I had to Google the term 'double teaming' as I wasn't sure what it meant.

The comment related to a headline about two cancer-beating proteins, which when combined with a special drug, have been shown to effectively knock out cancer cells in the lab (if you want to know more, here some detail on the process).

So the company freelance writer's headline suggestion of 'Double-teaming cancer' as a basketball reference made complete sense to me and none to anyone else. And I just hope the commenter had Safe Search on when she googled that term.

One of the areas I’m relishing in working on is the reason I started this blog and my own Twitter account: the chance to combine sports writing, opinion, health news and social media.

On a corporate level this will be an interesting shift: after working in the aforementioned science field and handling SM for a small company, I have a better understanding of what types of stories scientists want to read about. And while I still regularly read sports news pages and blogs, talking solely to that audience will be a welcome challenge.

On the social media aspect, here's a link to a promotional video showing what my former employer in Australia has been up to while I'm away.

When I left Monash Sport two years ago, they were cautious of the uses, audience and effects of social media but have obviously grasped the basics after setting up Facebook groups, Youtube and Metacafe channels and an underfollowed Twitter account. 
It’s a healthy cultural shift and one that their members are obviously enjoying.

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