Before the eye-opening Bodmer Report activated the whole PUS movement, many (if not most) researchers tended to think of the media as a foreign country about which they knew or cared little. Its inhabitants were largely considered hostile, sensation-seeking and probably deeply unintelligent. Its outputs – be they in printed or electronic form – were frequently dismissed as superficial, unhelpful and often plain inaccurate.
These attitudes did not change overnight with the publication of the 1985 Report. Indeed, in some isolated corners, they still persist. But Bodmer did put in train some key, ecumenical ideas, namely:
The need to understand the importance of the media in making public what goes on behind the laboratory door, and which would otherwise remain unseen and unheard.
Urging researchers to get to know this hitherto alien culture, to learn its strange language, practices and behaviour.
Stressing that interacting with the media represents an opportunity to reach a far wider audience about scientific achievements, not an automatic threat to academic integrity.