TV science journalist given honorary degree
16 December 2022
The science and technology editor for Sky News has received an honorary degree from the University of Reading for his efforts in communicating complex messages, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and on climate change.
Tom Clarke, who first graduated from the University of Reading with a bachelor’s degree in zoology in 1994, received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in a ceremony on Thursday 8 December.
Following his studies at Reading, Tom went on to study entomology at Louisiana State University before obtaining a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University in 1999.
He worked in radio and TV in New York before returning to London to join the news team at leading science journal Nature. In 2003, he started his career in broadcast journalism at ITN, becoming science editor for Channel 4 News, and then ITV News.
Since 2021, he has been science and technology editor at Sky News. Tom covers everything from cosmology to medicine, but has specialised in climate change reporting, diseases including H5N1, SARS, the 2014 Ebola epidemic and most recently COVID-19.
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of biomedical sciences and a regular media commentator on COVID-19 and other diseases, said: “At a time of crisis, when the world was worried about the health of our families and friends, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the vital importance of sensible and balanced science journalism, both to inform the public and hold decision makers to account.
“The world got through the pandemic due to the work of scientists and medics, developing vaccines, and treating those who were ill – but the whole population needed to understand what was going on. Without skilled science communicators to tell the story, the world would have been left dangerously in the dark about what was happening.
“Academic research can often be complicated and hard to communicate, yet it is often funded by ordinary people through their taxes and has a major impact on people’s lives. Thanks to the efforts of Tom Clarke and his colleagues, people around the world have a better chance of understanding how science is discovering new things and changing the world around us.”