BOSTON—A growing number of scientific organizations are training researchers to appear on television and the other media. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has offered TV workshops since 1986. The University of Wisconsin gave its first one last fall.

“Scientists are being increasingly called upon to provide information to the media, said Carol Rogers, head of the AAAS Office of Communications. “But they don’t really know how the media operate.”

The training scientists receive varies widely. Potential media stars at Northeastrn University, for example, are subjected to five hours of training before video cameras. Those at Johns Hopkins are grilled in advance of an appearance. At Stanford, a short briefing from the public affairs staff is deemed sufficient. Within the federal government, the National Institutes of Health offer no formal media training, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration does.

The growth in media training for scientists is...

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