News

Four years of the Aotearoa NZ Science Journalism Fund

Guest Author Jan 22, 2021

Keana Virmani From healthcare robots to data privacy, to sea level rise and Antarctica under the ice: in the four years since its establishment, the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund has supported over 30 projects. Rebecca Priestley, receiving the PM Science Communication Prize (Photo by Mark Tantrum) Associate Professor Rebecca Priestley, from … Read More

A Big Science Publisher Is Going Open Access. But at What Cost?

Guest Author Jan 15, 2021

Grigori Guitchounts In November, Springer Nature, one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific journals, made an attention-grabbing announcement: More than 30 of its most prestigious journals, including the flagship Nature, will now allow authors to pay a fee of US$11,390 to make their papers freely available for anyone to read online. This move, by a company that … Read More

Covid-19 and the Science Media Centre

Katherine Hurst Dec 18, 2020

“Always expect the unexpected” could be the Science Media Centre’s motto, but 2020 has proven more unexpected than most years. The novel coronavirus spread through all aspects of the SMC’s work: queries from journalists, media briefings, expert reactions to breaking news, and distributing recent scientific research through the Scimex website. Even the SMC’s … Read More

Teen body dissatisfaction predictor of adult depression

Caroline Lord Dec 08, 2020

New research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, shows a credible link between adolescent body dissatisfaction and the onset of depression in adulthood. Young people who experienced dissatisfaction with their appearance faced an increased risk of depression in their early adult lives of between 50% to 285%. The trend was present in both male and female … Read More

Māori and Pacific academics paid and promoted less

Caroline Lord Dec 03, 2020

Glass ceilings are a reality for Māori and Pacific academics at New Zealand universities, according to new research. This group is already in the minority, making up just 5% and 2% respectively of the academic workforce, with less than 4% and 1% employed at professor level positions. These employment levels remained static between 2012 and 2017. The new study, … Read More

Scientists should welcome charges against agency over Whakaari/White Island — if it helps improve early warning systems

Guest Author Dec 01, 2020

Shane Cronin The decision by Worksafe, a government agency focused on workplace safety, to bring criminal charges against 13 parties in relation to last December’s eruption of Whakaari/White Island heralds a new chapter for volcano scientists in New Zealand. On December 9, 2019, 22 people died and 25 suffered injuries when Whakaari erupted. They were not locals caught … Read More

A few days in the life of an ER

Katherine Hurst Oct 30, 2020

Most people hear “ER” and they think of an emergency room – ambulances, patients, life and death situations. But for the staff at the Science Media Centre, ER stands for “Expert Reactions” and means timely comments from experts responding to breaking news.  When news breaks, journalists often want quotes about the importance … Read More

Assisted dying will become legal in New Zealand in a year — what has to happen now?

Guest Author Oct 30, 2020

Jeanne Snelling, University of Otago and Andrew Geddis, University of Otago The preliminary results of New Zealand’s referendum on the End of Life Choice Act were conclusive. Some 65.2% of voters supported the law coming into force, while 33.8% opposed it. Although around 480,000 special votes are still to be counted, the margin is so great there is no chance … Read More

New Zealand’s space pioneers stamp their mark

Guest Author May 03, 2019

Erin Maessen Six of New Zealand’s ‘space pioneers’ have been commemorated in a new series of stamps launched by New Zealand Post. Designed by Hannah Fortune, and sprinkled with a layer of real meteorite dust, the stamps feature homegrown talent including Beatrice Hill Tinsley, Charles Gifford and Sir William Pickering. New Zealand Post chair Jackie Lloyd said … Read More