Talking to the Press

Talking to the Press

Talking to the Press

Tina McDowell, Natasha Metzler, Scott Sheppard, Roberto Molar Candanosa

June 18, 2019

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A workshop was presented to our Broad Branch Road postdoctoral Fellows on the subject of "Talking to the press:  Why you should care about communications, PR, graphics, social media, outreach, and getting media interested in your work." The presenters were Tina McDowell, Natasha Metzler, Scott Sheppard, and Roberto Molar Candanosa.  Each speaker presented a segment of the PDF file attached.  Some takeaway points: 

  • Images receive more coverage; visual communication is the "click bait," need scientifically-engaging, visually-attractive images
  • Press releases count as outreach
  • Play down quotes; no jargon or acronyms
  • Speak on HS level, not on an advanced level
  • Need to establish connections
  • There is always an element of storytelling
  • Simple, catchy images are great for twitter
  • Keep audience in mind when speaking
  • Be available to talk to reporters; set up a time to talk on the phone, avoid back-and-forth emails
  • If interviewed on another's work, do not be too negative
  • Practice a one-minute talk about your work
  • Personal anecdotes connect the reporter with people
  • Use metaphors or analogies to convey excitement and make your work understandable to those outside your field
  • Ask the reporter upfront if they know anything about the subject matter
  • Ask the "so what" question before they ask
  • Write your own quote in the press release, which is then inserted into the reporter's coverage
  • Think of journalists as friends
  • Journalists are mediators between the scientist and the public
  • You have the power to set the agenda

Even after a postdoc departs Carnegie, we are still interested in your work.  Send us your news and we will distribute through social media, our Facebook pages, newsletters, etc.