Fiona Fox, Director of the Science Media Centre, London, UK:
“After eight years of working at the front line of science in the media I am ever more convinced that good media relations work is critical to good quality science coverage. Emma Mason and Mary Rice are amongst the most skilful, experienced and reliable science press officers the SMC has worked with and I continue to recommend them to anyone who asks my advice. Their backgrounds in journalism and in organisations such as cancer charities and the MRC and their many years of working for scientific journals and international science conferences make them perfect for research groups with controversial and complex issues to communicate to the national and international media. Emma and Mary’s commitment to accuracy and balance is equalled only by their professionalism, passion for medical science stories and their unparalleled commitment to improving the quality of science journalism.”
Michel Ballieu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ECCO, the European CanCer Organisation:
“In the past we have used PR agencies, which cost us a fortune and delivered poor results. Since then we have used Mary Rice and Emma Mason who have a wide experience in healthcare and oncology. They have a great address book – fantastic contacts with journalists, scientists and clinicians – and they know us very well.
Our collaboration works really well. They work on our general PR and also on three of our main congresses, achieving very impressive coverage: at our most recent congress, for instance, we got more than 6.000 articles worldwide in media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC (web and broadcast), CNN, France2, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Times (UK), Le Figaro (France), The Guardian (UK), The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, El Mundo (Spain), Business Week, Corrierre della Sera (Italy), Der Tagesspiegel (Germany), and other major media in US, Europe and Asia.”
In other words there is no reason at all for us to go back to a PR agency.”
Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:
“The effective dissemination of medical research can sometimes save more lives than an individual doctor can save in a lifetime. In this domain Mary Rice is a skilled practitioner. Her qualifications are the intellectual energy to challenge scientific obfuscation, the integrity to report truthfully and the communications skills and media networks to bring scientific results to the widest possible audience.”
Professor Han Brunner, past chairman of the Scientific Programme Committee of the European Society of Human Genetics:
“I have worked with Mary Rice who put together an information package on the most exciting science coming from our annual conference for the press. We have been very pleased with the results. Press coverage of our conference has been very good, and the added exposure has benefited the Society in connecting with a non-specialist audience. In this respect, I especially commend Mary and her colleagues for her ability for finding the core message in what is otherwise very technical information aimed at specialists in the field. I have found myself in broad agreement over topics to be highlighted, and the Society has been consistently pleased with the way press releases were put together, and the handling of subsequent media coverage.“
Phil Bishop – Senior Publisher, Clinical Medicine – Oxford University Press:
“Emma manages the PR for several titles in the clinical medicine journals portfolio at OUP to great success. She is a pleasure to work with, being very professional and efficient with authors, Editors-in-Chief, editorial, and marketing staff to achieve excellent international, accurate coverage. Not only does Emma have a good eye for what will make a story in the wider media, she has the skills to translate often very complex clinical information into copy that works for journalists.”
Pippa Powell, European Lung Foundation Manager, and Lauren Anderson, European Lung Foundation Press and Communications:
“The European Respiratory Society is a membership organisation that hosts an annual congress profiling all the latest developments in lung health and disease to its 20,000 attendees and beyond. In 2011, for the first time, the European Lung Foundation (ELF), its public-facing sister organisation, was tasked with managing the press activities for the congress. With an in-house press team of one and with no experience of running a press office at such a large conference, it was a daunting task and we looked to RiceMason for support and guidance for the whole process….and that is what we got.
“Mary and Emma provided the right amount of encouragement, advice, examples and expectations to enable us to run a successful event. Pre-conference face-to-face meetings and teleconferences helped with the abstract selection and writing of releases. Importantly for us, Mary and Emma allowed complete flexibility, acting as enablers for our in-house staff rather than insisting on carrying out all tasks themselves. Local expertise during the congress helped with trouble shooting and press conference management and, again, in general confidence building for our own press officer. Our experience of working with Mary and Emma has allowed us to pull off a professional first attempt at a press office but, more importantly, to develop in-house capabilities ourselves. Hopefully we will have to ask fewer questions of RiceMason next time!”
Elaine Snell, Chief Executive, British Neuroscience Association:
“The British Neuroscience Association held its Festival of Neuroscience in London, which was an ambitious project. We needed experienced PR people to promote the science being presented. I knew RiceMason would do a good job for us – in fact, they were superb. Their hard work produced extensive coverage for the Festival, and, with a bit of ‘lateral thinking’, a range of features and interviews that went beyond publicity for new research. I knew that I could rely on RiceMason to get on with the job efficiently and work as a team with us.”
Pallab Ghosh, BBC Science Correspondent,
(informal verbal feedback to Emma):
“What I find useful is that I’ve known you and Mary for a very long time and I trust your judgement. You know exactly what we want, you give us information that is true and accurate, and you don’t hype things. So I know that when you and Mary call saying you’ve got a story, then I know that it is.”
María Valerio Sáinz, health correspondent, El Mundo newspaper, Spain:
“I work quite often with Mary and Emma because of my position as a health writer in El Mundo (a Spanish newspaper). We have a digital edition which is updated on a daily basis (www.elmundo.es/elmundosalud) and we always find their press releases really, really useful. They select the most interesting articles from their medical journals and conferences, and they send us really well done press releases. As we are not able to cover every single article (there are hundreds of scientific journals being published every week!!), their job allows us to decide if we should or not publish something. They also provide us with full pdfs of the studies before the embargo is lifted, which is based on a mutual relationship of trust, and let us work on the issue with time to compare the information.”
J.Daniel Flaysakier, Senior medical correspondent, France 2-TV, Paris:
“PR persons can be a nightmare. Emma and Mary are just the opposite! They are very professional and their press releases are shaped with a goldsmith’s talent. Even in fields I am not deeply fond of, they have succeeded in attracting my attention.
Seriously, in a world where news is a perishable item, it is important not to miss the good opportunities and to forget about the others. Emma and Mary help me a lot and I am sure that feeling is shared by many of my colleagues. ”
Anna Bratt, medical reporter for Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Sweden:
“I have had the pleasure to work with Emma Mason and Mary Rice at the ESHRE conferences in Amsterdam and Rome. They are extremely helpful: they have knowledge about science, they write very useful and clear press releases, they have a lot of patience and also the ability to fix problems fast.”
Peter Goodwin, Editor, Audio Medica:
“Mary and Emma are pretty well unique in the field of press guidance for significant medical conferences! They actually understand all of the topics: so you can get a verbal brief from them as well as using their write-ups which are as good as any we journalists can produce anyway.
“They also know the doctors and scientists personally, so they can pick them out at the conference for us, and even brief us accurately on the approach we should take to get our story. And because the experts respect them, it is normally possible for Mary and Emma to fix up interviews during the conference – something which is so “hit and miss” at conferences they are not involved with (such as ASCO, ACC, AHA, ESC and the like) that we journalists never assume that the press office at a congress can be relied upon to do this, even when the best intentions are undoubtedly there.
“I would estimate that I can increase my coverage of a conference by 50% to 100% if Mary and Emma are involved with organising the press facilities. I could go on ……..!!”
José Manuel Abad Linán, Head of Projects and Analysis, BBVA Foundation, Madrid, Spain:
“I have had the opportunity to work together with Mary Rice and Emma Mason at three major international medical conferences in Spain. As a science journalist, I very much admire their professionalism, particularly their capability to transform abstruse texts from scientific papers into rigorous, newsworthy press releases and press conferences.
“They display an extraordinary talent to fit urgent media requirements with world-class researchers’ tight agendas. Always working with an extremely high number of attending members of the press, this capability is indeed a key issue in order to provide journalists with a satisfactory, even personalised media service.
“I also appreciate their thoroughness in setting and preparing every step of the communication process, from the first briefings with organising committees, up to the analysis of journalists’ feedback and the monitoring of media coverage, as well as their engagement with honesty as the best communication policy.”