Press Officer Training Day 2019

4 March 2019
  • Start: 09:00
  • End: 17:00
  • Location: Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, London, N1 2UD

Stempra’s annual flagship one-day training event is back in London this spring, with more than 100 attendees expected to attend for advice, tips, discussions, and best practice in science communication.

This is a rare opportunity to meet the UK’s leading science, health and technology journalists under one roof and network with other press officers and communications professionals. Sign up now!

Who should come?

Anyone working in science communication, especially if you are early on in your career. Whether you work for a university, learned society, research council, agency or museum, there will be something for you!

Why should you come?

The conference is a great chance to sharpen your tools of the trade in a rapidly changing industry.


09:00-09:30: Registration, tea + coffee

09:30-09:35: Intro from Claire Hastings, Chair of Stempra

09:35-10:45: How to talk about numbers

Hear from friendly statisticians on why and how we should use statistical significance, p-values, absolute and relative risk in our press releases. Learn how to communicate the difference between an observational study and a randomised controlled trial. Discover how one press office got a personal commendation from David Spiegelhalter, President of the Royal Statistical Society, for handling a tricky story.

10:45-11:55: Parallel sessions

PARALLEL 1: Hype in health: why it matters, how to spot it, and how to fight it?

When is a breakthrough not a breakthrough? Have we really cured cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s (again!)? Communicating health research has to tread a fine line between informing the public, and getting patients’ hope up. Find out how to achieve that balance, and learn top tips for how to combat the hype!

PARALLEL 2: Bringing engineering and technology stories to life

What multimedia is most useful in engaging audiences around engineering? What challenges and opportunities are most important in the tech communication landscape at the moment? How best to pitch your technical story for informative yet exciting coverage? Come and hear from content, media and PR specialists!

11:55-12:10: BREAK

12:10-13:20: Meet the journalists

This is your chance to ask the burning questions you have to some of the UK’s leading science journalists working across print, online and broadcast. We will keep adding more names to the roster, making this an opportunity you won’t want to miss:

  • Ian Sample, The Guardian
  • Tom Clarke, ITV News
  • Victoria Gill, BBC
  • Tom Whipple, The Times
  • Shaun Wooller, The Sun
  • Nick McDermott, The Sun
  • Daisy Dunne, The Carbon Brief
  • Maria Cheng, Associated Press ….and more to be confirmed!

13:20-14:20: LUNCH & NETWORKING

14:20-15:30: Pitch perfect

Afraid of picking up the phone to make the dreaded call? You’re not alone. Journalists receive hundreds of press releases by email every day, so how can you stand out from the crowd? You have to be able to explain to journalists why your story is exciting and why they should be writing about it. This interactive session will be about how, who and when to pitch your stories, judged by experts with years of experience in the field.

15:30-15:45: BREAK

15:45-16:55: Getting creative: beyond traditional news media

PR and media these days is about much more than embargoed press releases. In this session we'll hear from an incredible panel on how to work with influencers, storytelling, creative social media and more, to give science and medicine news and features that extra edge.

16:55-17:00: Closing remarks

17.00 onwards: A pub nearby

How to sign up

The Press Officer Training Day is free to attend for Stempra members and non-members. (Not a member? You can join us for just £15 a year.) Register with Eventbrite now.

In memory of Dianne Stilwell, a bursary is available to provide financial support to attendees towards accommodation or travel costs for those who would otherwise be unable to attend. For more information, please visit the Dianne Stilwell Bursary webpage. To apply, please get in touch:

Words from last year's attendees

“Amazing, so useful to understand concepts from point zero + great atmosphere.”

“Handy insider tips + knowing people are going through the same questions/problems. Networking. Amazing it's free!”

“Hearing from a range of people in comms, policy and journalism was really helpful. Enjoyed getting to meet and speak with lots of people.”