Science Media Centre of Canada

Science Media Centre of Canada

December 08, 2009 15:23 ET

Veteran Science Journalist Takes Helm at Science Media Centre of Canada

Penny Park shaped top radio, TV science shows

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2009) -

Editors note: A photo is included with this press release on Marketwire's website.

The Science Media Centre of Canada took another major step toward becoming a reality today with the appointment of veteran science journalist Penny Park as the inaugural Executive Director.

Park will begin Jan. 1, moving from her home in Toronto to Ottawa where the SMCC office is located in the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

"We are exceptionally fortunate to have a journalist of Penny's experience, ability and enthusiasm take on the challenge of getting the Centre operating by next summer," said Suzanne Corbeil, chair of the SMCC steering committee.

"Penny worked hard as a volunteer member of the steering committee for the past two years and now she'll be at the centre of the show as Executive Director," said Corbeil.

Park said a major mission for the Science Media Centre is encouraging better informed public dialogue on issues with a scientific component by assisting media coverage to be accurate, concise and evidence-based.

"The climate change talks in Copenhagen are a good example of where a science media centre in Canada could have been a valuable source of experts and expertise, as our sister centres have been doing in Britain, Australia and New Zealand," she said.

Park comes to the Science Media Centre with extensive hands-on experience in radio and television science journalism in Canada. From 1980 to 1995 she worked as a producer and senior producer with "Quirks and Quarks," the award-winning weekly science program on CBC radio.

From 1995 until now Park has been with the Discovery Channel, where she helped develop the show now called "Daily Planet," the first nightly TV magazine show about science and technology in the world.

As a senior producer of live specials at Discovery, Park covered the science behind such major events as 9/11, the Pathfinder and Sprit/Rover landings on Mars, and Canada in space. For the past four seasons, Park has been in charge of international specials at "Daily Planet," including week-long series that showcased the science, technology and engineering research of countries like Japan, China, India and Brazil.

Originally from Montreal, the journalist first earned a BA from the University of New Brunswick, studying linguistics, followed by a B.Sc (honours) in biology from the University of Guelph, graduating there in 1980.

"And with the science degree I applied to Quirks and Quarks," she said.

The media world has undergone great changes since then, Park noted, with journalists under increased pressure to produce more material with less time available for reporting and double-checking.

"The Centre will be able to help harassed reporters come up with respected experts and reliable information faster, this making their jobs a little easier," she said.

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