What is the EMC?

Education Media Centre – Enhancing the use of evidence in the media

Liaising with the press

The Coalition for Evidence-based Education (CEBE) is currently piloting an Education Media Centre - a new initiative that aims to make education research more accessible to the media and policy makers and so improve policy development, practice and public understanding of education. It will provide users with authoritative, independent and accessible insights from education research in response to current research and policy developments.

Specific aims are to:

  • Save users time by providing them with a single contact point to a wide range of research expertise.
  • Support the credibility of users’ work by offering timely, impartial and authoritative access to people, publications and evidence.
  • Make research findings more accessible and media-friendly.

Collaborative approaches such as these have been shown to be powerful ways of improving the transfer of knowledge from research to media and policy settings. In particular, we can learn from the success of the Science Media Centre (SMC), which has become a key channel through which journalists access science research before it hits the headlines.

Why is it needed?

As we enter a period of more local responsibility in education, decision-makers more than ever require accurate, useful and accessible information on ‘what works’ in teaching and learning. In this environment, press and policy makers play a crucial role in linking research evidence to real-world practice. Nevertheless, the infrastructure and systems in place do not lend themselves to effective knowledge transfer between these groups.

During our consultations, it was felt there is a ‘vacuum at present to fill in providing impartial authoritative perspectives on the state of the research evidence in education’. There was widespread support for the EMC as a ‘genuine opportunity’ and something that is ‘badly needed’. Over 90% of the people to whom we spoke say that they would use the EMC if it were available.

What will the Education Media Centre do?

Initially, the EMC intends to:

  • Build a directoryof research specialists, selected on the practicality of their work and their ability to communicate findings, as well as their research quality.
  • Provide a ‘matchmaking’ service to link policy makers and journalists with relevant research experts/evidence in response to specific enquiries, within the rapid timeframe that journalists and policy makers require.
  • Co-ordinate press releases that draw together research perspectives from a wide range of specialists on set pieces (e.g. A level results), running stories (e.g. free schools) and one-off issues (e.g. a ministerial statement).
  • Signpost to topical new research findings, from both national and international research.
  • Provide a ‘live’ service, with a permanent staff to organise briefings and liaise between different clients.

As the EMC develops it would aim to offer additional services, including:

  • Live briefing events that bring together panels of experts to discuss high-profile topics.
  • Overview summaries on the state of the evidence on popular topics (e.g. phonics).
  • Workshops for education researchers to develop understandings of the media and for journalists/policy makers to gain insights into research.

Users of the EMC will be able to access services through a range of channels, including a dedicated phone service for journalists seeking support, face-to-face briefings and online dissemination via a website and new-media channels (e.g. RSS and Twitter).

What wouldn’t the EMC do?

  • The Centre would not push any particular political, institutional or ideological agenda.
  • It would not seek to replace existing press offices or organisations disseminating research evidence.
  • It would not itself be a depository of research evidence and information.

What stage are we at?

The Education Media Centre (EMC) is now up and running.

To find out more about the EMC, please visit their website, www.educationmediacentre.org
Attachment Size
EMC Model - Final Report 1.1 MB
EMC User Consultation Report 1.57 MB