Peter Green: As long as journalism exists there will be a need for AlphaGalileo

Peter Green (73), Managing Director and founder of the long-running AlphaGalileo research news service retired from the Company on 1 January 2021.

Peter founded AlphaGalileo in 1998 to ensure that news from all aspects of research received the widest exposure to the world’s media. “For over 20 years AlphaGalileo has provided a friendly and authoritative service, independent of any commercial publisher or pressure group, to research organisations and the media.”

“AlphaGalileo grew out of a desire by the European media for access to research news from around the world. We now serve Singapore, Korea, Japan, North America, Russia and, of course, Europe.”

“I am proud that AlphaGalileo is one of the oldest Internet services,” he concluded.

We have asked Peter Green how it all started? What was the beginning of AlphaGalileo?

In the mid-1990s the European space science and high-energy physics communities were concerned that their achievements were not being recognised. Lack of media coverage of space missions and CERN was part of the problem. AlphaGalileo grew out of an informal group of science journalists and researchers from Britain, France and Germany that wanted to improve awareness of the achievements and benefits of European research. From the outset it was accepted that any action had to include support and encouragement for all scientific disciplines, press offices and journalists. This underpins AlphaGalileo’s continuing friendly and responsive approach to its users.aa

Many people don’t realise how important and interesting a job AlphaGalileo does for science communication. Could you please, explain what exactly it does?

In one sense it is simple we provide the media and research organisations with the widest possible access to research news releases and other news. But in another sense, it is complex. We take news under embargo, which requires that we understand the culture of science journalism and the sometime conflicting demands of news providers and news users.

How is AlphaGalileo managing the current situation with so many challenges? Pandemic being just one of them.

We have always concentrated on delivering a service. We have never set ourselves up as an arbiter of what is or isn’t acceptable. Customers first our Company second. So, we try to work around the clock; using technology where appropriate; and we have never worried about fancy offices.

What was the worst moment of your work in AlphaGalileo?

The financial crash of 2008 and the fear that research budgets would be slashed.

What was the happiest moment of your work in AlphaGalileo?

Oh, that’s a very difficult question. It has been tremendous to be involved in science communication, supporting fact-based decision making by individuals and government.

Does AlphaGalileo have a future as science communicator bearing in mind the fast development of the IT sector and the Artificial Intelligence?

Yes. This is a complex environment to work in and algorithms and AI can help, but as long as journalism exists there will be a need for AlphaGalileo.

You have huge experience in science communications. What is your advice for the science organisations?

Trust, encourage and support your press offices. Leave the media to focus on its objectives and your researchers to build tomorrow. Trained and professional press offices are the vital glue that holds it all together.

Interviewed by Kosta Stefanov