media and, in turn, to the general public. Getting the word out to the
media can help you gain wide exposure for your articles and, in the case
of applied research, get your studies into the hands of patients,
policy makers, and other populations that need it the most.
Today, we’ll cover how to connect with Media Relations at Duquesne to
get your work to the mainstream media, how and why to build
relationships with journalists, and how to prepare for a great media
interview. We'll also explain a few other Duquesne-specific ways to
raise your scholarly profile.
media, acting as the university's spokespersons and promoting newsworthy
information. However, MR also connects media representatives with
Duquesne faculty and administrative experts in different subject areas.
You can--you should--be one of these experts!
Here's how to go about becoming a "faculty expert":
- Fill out the Media Expert questionnaire in DORI to identify
your areas of expertise. Find the form by selecting "Employee" in the
drop-down menu in the top right corner of DORI's home page.
Then click "Public Affairs" under Departments & Offices.
And, finally, click Media Relations on the left. The Expert Questionnaire is linked to on the right.
- Send your completed questionnaire to a member of the Media Relations team. Media Relations may also want to see your curriculum vitae.
work is being covered by the media, here’s how you can make sure you
have a successful interview.
Identify your main objectiveWhat is the single most important message you want those who read or hear your interview to come away with? AAAS recommends that
you “prepare a single communication objective and two or three
secondary points you want to make." Keeping a single message in mind can
keep you from veering off-topic or getting lost in the details of a
study when talking with a journalist.
Flesh out your talking pointsYou’ll need to also have talking points ready, so you don’t repeat
yourself when attempting to communicate your take-home message. The
FigureOne blog explains:
It’s important to have a set of
talking points prepared ahead of time so you can clearly spell out the
important details of your work without too much fumbling. The fastest
way to get misquoted is to be unclear when you describe what you did and
why it matters.
Practice, practice, practiceThe more you practice, the better you’ll get at artfully explaining
your talking points. Have a friend or colleague help you rehearse, if
necessary. And keep Ed Yong’s advice about giving comments to journalists in mind when rehearsing.
Be sure to respond quickly to press inquiries. Journalists are often
on deadlines that require you to respond within hours, not days or
weeks. Rearrange your schedule if necessary so you can check your email
and phone messages more often than normal, and make time to respond to
inquiries you receive.
The Scripps Research Institute points out that you don’t have to respond immediately to all inquiries, however:
When you receive a media request,Trust your gut when deciding to respond to journalists based on their
feel free to ask the reporter for background: What is the focus of the
piece? Who else are you speaking with? What is the format (e.g. live or
taped)? If an interview request catches you by surprise, arrange to call
the reporter back so you have time to gather your thoughts and do a
Google search on the reporter, outlet and other background.
reputation and the publication for which they’re interviewing you. If
ever in doubt, touch base with Duquesne's Media Relations team. They
have many media contacts and may be able to advise you.
Now get out there and start talking! Give your interviews, monitor
the media for the final results, and give yourself a pat on the back for
doing the complicated and sometimes intimidating work of speaking with
After you’ve finished interviewing, you can offer to fact-check
articles and be generally available for follow-up questions. But don’t
expect the right to review the articles before they go to press; that’s
just not how science journalism works.
for fear that they’ll be misquoted or their research will be
misrepresented through errors or omissions in news articles. Science argues that researchers have more control over this issue than they may realize:
“The quality of an article does …You won’t be able to prevent all errors, but by being a well-prepared
not only depend on the skills of the journalist but also on the source,”
Scherzler continues. “One should, therefore, do everything in one’s
power to ensure that the journalist understands what one is trying to
communicate and that he has received all the information required for a
and rehearsed interview subject, you can nip some of these issues in
Also, keep in mind that there’s a difference between lack of
precision and outright misrepresentation. Often scientists need to get
comfortable with the former when speaking to a broader audience–the
public tends not to be specialists, and the important thing is that they
get the main story, not the nitty-gritty details.
Oversimplification of your research can be frustrating, too.
Scientists “can’t overstate the uncertainties on the one hand, nor
neglect to mention dangerous or unpleasant possibilities on the other,” points out
biologist Steve Schneider. “Our job is to provide the context,” he
says, and often having prepared, correct metaphors and examples that
help illustrate a concept for the journalist and the public can do that.
Duquesne University Digital CommonsAs mentioned in Day 6,
once Duquesne's institutional repository, Digital Commons, has
launched, you'll want to use the repository to showcase any versions of
publications that you have permission to contribute. With search
optimization, DC content floats to the top of search results and has a
greater chance of reaching multidisciplinary audiences than it does in
discipline-specific databases. Plus, we will always include citation
information for the original publication to ensure a positive impact on
your citations rates.
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Day 7: Get your research to the public - Raising Your Scholarly Profile - LibGuides at Duquesne University