Some things just get funnier and funnier. On Sunday, Ed Yong (who is not exactly a rocket scientist) put something up on Posterous recounting an exchange with a Press Information Officer. Ed had seen a press release, and wanted to write about the story. When he asked the Press Information Officer (PIO) for the scientist’s contact info, this is what he was told:
I think you have all you need for a blog.
From where things when downhill. Embargoes were involved, so Ivan Oransky posted a follow-up on his Embargo Watch blog, in which he named and shamed the PIO as Aeron Haworth, of the University of Manchester. Haworth turned up in the comments, at which point hilarity ensued. Seriously, read through the comments thread: there’s so much comedy gold from Mr. Haworth, like this:
I will be letting every UK press officer know about his [Ed Yong’s] antics and he is unlikely to get cooperation from this side of the Atlantic in future. It’s a shame, as the UK produces some of the best science in the world.
Ed deserved what he got. A jumped-up arrogant journalist wannabe. I stand my ground.
‘Real journalists’ on the ‘cutting edge’. And you’re training would be?
which was followed by this from Damian:
Much laughter all round.
Well, this morning I checked my email, and found a message from the Royal Statistical Society, send on behalf of Sense About Science. Sense About Science are holding a Standing up for Science media workshop the March 11th, and Manchester University. Hmm, I thought. That’s where Mr. Haworth works. I wonder….
And yes, this is part of the flyer (pdf):
Wow. Top tips if you come face to face with a journalist. Will it include “insult them, and then threaten to excommunicate them from science communications”? Or how about “don’t worry – your press officer will make sure you never have to communicate with them”?