Skinful of snobbery

November 3, 2000

The feature on psychologist Linda Papadopoulos ("Why happiness is only skin deep", THES , October 20) highlighted the sometimes uneasy relationship between academia and the media.

There is still a lot of snobbery from some academics about the rise of the "media don" and the world of "aca-media". I believe we should be disseminating our work to the widest audience possible.

Academic popularisers (Roger Penrose, Richard Dawkins, Colin Blakemore and Simon Schama, to name but a few) come in for much criticism, but popularising science is hard because it involves communicating simply and without distortion.

There are many good reasons for academics to cultivate a media profile. Not only can it provide publicity for the academic, their research, their discipline and their institution, but it can also provide ideas to stimulate research and help hone academics' ability to think quickly on their feet.

Mark Griffiths
Head of psychology
Nottingham Trent University

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