[ASC-media] Fresh Science - is breast cancer caused by a virus?]

Niall Byrne niall at byc.com.au
Thu Oct 2 17:48:52 EST 2003


I agree wholeheartedly with David's general comments on science
communication.

However I take some offence at the implication that I and Fresh Science
are guilty of the sins he describes. My reputation in the business is
built on responsible issues management relating to calicivirus, BSE, HIV,
Johne's disease and many other hot scientific issues.

Fresh Science helped Caroline report her peer reviewed science responsibly
and ethically. Caroline has had favourable feedback from many researchers,
clinicians, and the NSW Cancer Council. The only criticism has been from
David and we responded to his initial concerns openly and honestly.

In fact we even offered David a platform to raise his concerns about the
original media alert. My reply to him included the following:

"If you'd like to suggest an opposing voice I'm happy to offer them to the
media. You'd be welcome to attend the press conference and ask questions
and/or respond at the conclusion of the press conference."

While this has been a valuable debate on ASC list, the potential impact on
Caroline bothers me. The tone of the exchange has been far too personal.

A young PhD student makes her first foray into the media, and an eminent
scientist and Vic Prize winner drops on her like a tonne of bricks
describing her work as junk science and accusing her of promulgating
falsehoods. Of course she will take it personally.

Niall

__________________

Niall Byrne

Science Communication Consultant
PO Box 199 Drysdale 3222 Australia
(185 Scotchmans Road Portarlington 3223)
Ph +61 3 5253 1391, fax +61 3 9923 6008, mobile 0417 131 977
niall at scienceinpublic.com, www.scienceinpublic.com

Other useful webs:
http://www.freshscience.org
http://www.geneticsmedia.org
http://www.cluniesross.org.au




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