From Nature, 5 April 2012: By Fiona Fox As chief executive of London's Science Media Centre, I find the prospect of a similar centre in the United States more exciting than Colin Macilwain seems to (Nature 483, 247; 2012). A network of science media centres (SMCs) is already flourishing in Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with Denmark soon to join the list. This model works and, given the calibre of the people involved in the US move, I am confident that they will be able to meet any challenges head-on. The SMC model is popular with journalists because it bucks public-relations protocol. None of us promotes our brand name or any institutional message, we are just as happy to kill stories as to create them, and we embrace difficult and controversial issues. This special mix is likely to be as popular with US journalists as it is with those in the other countries. Science journalists use quotes from SMCs and/or treat them as a source of background information. If US science journalists are less likely to use quotes, as Macilwain implies, then a US SMC would simply operate differently. However, a scarcity of specialist science journalists may force a US SMC to operate more like the Australian centre, which tends to work with general news reporters. SMCs around the world will have to adapt to different cultures, in which attitudes to acceptable funding sources may vary. But what really matters is that SMCs should be independent of those funders, whether they be from industry, government, the media or the scientific community. ------ I'm not sure they are quite as objectively neutral as Fiona Fox implies.