Published on September 19, 2014
Working with the NTU press office Helen Breese Senior Press Officer
NTU press office • The press office sits within the University’s communications team but we work closely with other departments • Responsible for building the reputation and raising the profile of the university through the press – regionally, nationally and internationally • Four press officers, each with responsibility for their own Schools 19 September 2014 2
Why engage with us? • Help to raise NTU’s profile, your discipline’s profile and your personal profile • Disseminate your research findings or demonstrate your expertise to a wide variety of audiences • Communicating academic research is often a requirement of funders • Press coverage can generate and influence debate and lead to impact – in the past academics have had many positive outcomes purely as a result of media coverage • Sometimes the media can be used to help gather more participants for studies 19 September 2014 3
So what makes a news story? • Something which is new! Or offers a new angle to an existing topic • Something which is unusual, out of the ordinary or has a potentially wide interest • Something which is timely • Research findings – yes please! Journalists crave tangible information – statistics, trends, effects, consequences, implications etc. Findings offer us the best opportunities for news coverage • Opinion – if we know what our academics can talk about, then we can react to the news agenda and pitch them and their views to journalists covering relevant stories 19 September 2014 4
Our work News releases (proactive) • We identify the story and draft copy accordingly. We keep the copy interesting, understandable and accurate • Very robust approvals process. Copy is approved by NTU researcher(s) and any other partners involved in the work • We speak to relevant journalists – international, national, specialist or local – to sell the story in • We’re happy to hold on sending anything out to coincide with review / publication process • News releases allow us to carefully manage the message 19 September 2014 5
Coverage from recent news releases July 2014: Research led by Prof Tilak Dias (Art & Design) into how heart sensors could be embedded into car seats to detect if drivers start to fall asleep 19 September 2014 6 The car seats which detect when drivers are falling asleep Car seats which detect when drivers are falling asleep at the wheel are being developed by Nottingham Trent University. SNOOZE CONTROL: Car seats could prevent dozy drivers falling asleep at the wheel. They will contain a fabric-based sensor system to detect changes in heart rates and warn the motorist. The system is being developed by Nottingham Trent university and electronics firm Plessey. Smart seatbelts give sleepy drivers a wake-up call Doze alarm for lorries HI-TECH seat covers could bring trucks to a halt if halt if drivers nod off. Sensors will measure heart rates rates and first warn truckers if they get sleepy.
Coverage from recent news releases August 2014: Research by Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit into Game Transfer Phenomenon. Angelica Ortiz De Gortari and Professor Mark Griffiths. 19 September 2014 Do you hear things after playing video games? There's a name for that. Research suggests that players hear sound effects and background music long after switching off their games consoles. 7 Gamers still hear gunfire, screams and falling coins days after playing, study finds A study led by Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit has found that some gamers still hear in-game sounds in real life days after playing. Gamers 'hear screams and explosions' after long sessions One survey respondent heard a voice whispering ‘death’ for days Gamers 'Hearing Voices Long After Playing' More than one in 10 people questioned say they have heard noises or voices after sessions playing video games.
Coverage from recent news releases • July 2014: Dr Anton Ianakiev and Dr Anthony Crabbe have developed a new material as strong as MDF which is made of shredded paper. 19 September 2014 Researchers at Nottingham Trent University have developed a new building material which is as strong as MDF but is made from shredded paper. Sustainable building material made from paper 8 Academics invent walls made from recycled shredded paper Walls could be made from shredded paper after researchers at Nottingham Trent University developed a new material which is as strong as MDF. A study led by Dr Anton Ianakiev, of the school of architecture, design and the built environment, and Dr Anthony Crabbe, of the school of art and design, have established a new, rigid composite material which is paper-based but also fire and water resistant. Academics invent walls made from recycled shredded paper Walls and floors could be made from shredded paper after researchers at Nottingham Trent University developed a new material which they claim is as strong as MDF (medium density-fibreboard).
Expert spokesperson alerts (proactive) • We monitor the international and national news agenda • When a major story breaks we identify if we have an expert who can comment on it by giving an opinion / view / background information • We work with that academic quickly to draft a few quotes or assess availability for interview • Supply information ASAP to the journalists covering that story • Timing is critical – we have a very small window of opportunity to make the most of this 19 September 2014 9
Media experts directory • Academics across the university who have indicated a willingness to engage with the media • Searchable by A-Z subject list or by name • Directory is linked to staff profiles and appears on the news section of the university website • Used by journalists searching for expert / independent comments to support their stories, and by the press office when looking to proactively pursue a story • Please let the Press Office know if you would like to appear on here 19 September 2014 10
Recent examples of expert comment August 2014, Professor Robert Dingwall talks about the deadly Ebola virus. 19 September 2014 11 Smuggled ‘bush meat’ could bring Ebola virus to Britain KILLER VIRUS OUTBREAK EBOLA BUG IN FOOD THREAT Could reach UK in smuggled meat Prof Robert Dingwall, an infectious diseases expert at Nottingham Trent University, warned: “Lots of wild animals carry the virus, and bush meat is often badly prepared. Similar meat that could have caused this outbreak may well end up in a market stall in London.” Britain launches battle to keep out deadly Ebola virus as it poses 'serious threat' to UK Professor Robert Dingwall, an expert in infectious diseases at Nottingham Trent University, said the UK is taking the threat "seriously". He warned: "We cannot hope to keep cases out at the borders." He said infected people who survive can continue to pass on the virus for up to seven weeks. He added: "We are not doomed in the UK, but it is sensible to raise our level of alert."
Recent examples of expert comment June 2014, Dr Andrew Evans talks to the national and international media about the Luis Suarez biting incident during the FIFA World Cup. Suarez act abnormal: Ghiggia Dr Andrew Evans, a performance psychologist at Nottingham Trent University said the punishment won't serve as much of a deterrent to Suarez in the future. 19 September 2014 Luis Suarez bite: Recap after striker is banned PLUS countdown to knockout World Cup matches 12 Así Ocurrió Minuto a minuto: la FIFA sanciona a Luis Suárez por mordida Reaction to Luis Suarez's nine-game ban for biting Dr Andrew Evans, a performance psychologist at Nottingham Trent University: "This punishment won't serve as much of a deterrent to Suarez in the future as it's too similar to previously imposed sanctions. What is really needed now is a psychological programme capable of promoting long-lasting behaviour change."
Recent examples of expert comment June 2014: Simon Boyes from Nottingham Law Schools talks about a rugby team’s High-Court attempt to overturn their points deduction. 19 September 2014 13 Rugby League - Boyes: Bulls unlikely to win appeal A sports law expert says Bradford are unlikely to succeed in their High-Court attempt to overturn their points deduction. Bulls unlikely to win High Court battle, predicts law expert A sports law expert says Bradford are unlikely to succeed in their High-Court attempt to overturn their points deduction. The relegation-threatened Super League club have already lost an appeal against the decision of the Rugby Football League to dock them six points for going into administration earlier this year. The club's directors opted to fight on after receiving the findings of the independent sporting appeal panel which upheld the penalty a fortnight ago and consulting with their legal team, as well as newly-appointed head coach James Lowes. However, Simon Boyes, who teaches at Nottingham Law School and is the author of the text book "Sports Law", believes the High Court are unlikely to rule against a governing body. Sports law expert: Bradford Bulls unlikely to win points appeal A SPORTS law expert says the Bulls are unlikely to succeed in their High Court attempt to overturn the club's points deduction.
Expert columns Academics can also provide us with columns (400-600 words) which we use on the news pages of the NTU website • Need to be timely, hooked to a recent news story or topic • Need to be written for the layman, in an engaging way • The press office can pitch these to media • Good option for academics who want to talk about their areas of expertise, but might not feel ready for media interviews 19 September 2014 14
Recent examples of expert columns Anton Ianakiev writes for the Guardian about walls made of shredded paper while Lingling Mao talks about corruption in Chinese politics. 19 September 2014 15
Responding to media enquiries (reactive) • We take calls from journalists everyday looking for experts to comment on their stories • It’s important that we know who can talk on what so that we can link our experts to the media quickly and effectively • Once a journalist has used an academic they tend to come back again and again 19 September 2014 16
The truth about journalists • How they work –National – Local – Trade • What they want • They appreciate your help 19 September 2014 17
Overcome the barriers – and the myths! • ‘I don’t have time’ – we can help draft copy and field phone calls • ‘I don’t trust the media’ – journalists really aren’t out to make us look bad. They need us too. • They’ll misinterpret or criticise my research – this is why it’s important to work with us, so we can manage the messages in the right way. They want to write accurate / informative pieces (and we can help them). • I’m worried what my peers will think – academics across the world engage with the media. Don’t be worried because you feel that someone is more of an ‘expert’ than you. • I’ll get into trouble with the university – press coverage is seen as a vital tool in raising the profile and reputation of our university. 19 September 2014 18
What you can do • We need our academics to tell us about their RESEARCH • We need our academics to tell us about their area(s) of EXPERTISE • We need our academics to ENGAGE with us – and keep coming back! 19 September 2014 19
Your research • Is it new? • Find the angle - what makes it unique? Or what makes it interesting to external audiences? So what? • Which audiences will be interested in your research? Why? • Potentially how many people could your findings make a difference to? / What is its impact? • Is there a relevant issue in the press at the moment? • Can it be easily translated into something which can be understood by the general public? • Is the full report available to the media? • Are there statistics they can use? 19 September 2014 20
It’s not dumbing down…. Whatever the subject matter, a press release should be written in plain English. For a non-specialist audience there is no point in writing in highly technical terms. If a journalist can not understand what they are reading they are unlikely to pursue a story. Not using technical jargon isn’t ‘dumbing down’; it is just ensuring that your work is communicated in a way that can be understood by a wider audience. ESRC, Dealing with the Media 19 September 2014 21
What you can do for journalists • Be available • Be helpful • Be patient • Be clear 19 September 2014 22
Media training • If you’re unsure / not confident about working with the press we offer media training • Offer two workshops in both print and broadcast media • Give you a better understanding of how to deal with media enquiries • Build confidence in dealing with the media – and give advice on preparing for media interviews • Excellent feedback from academics who have undertaken this training 19 September 2014 23
Contacts – we’re here to support you • Therese Easom, Press and Internal Communications Manager • Dave Rogers, Senior Press Officer (School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences; School of Science and Technology; and School of Social Sciences) • Helen Breese, Senior Press Officer (School of Arts and Humanities; Nottingham Business School; School of Education and Nottingham Law School) • Kirsty Green, Press Officer (School of Art and Design; Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach; Sport and Lifestyle; Nottingham Conference Centre) • Chris Birkle, Press Officer (School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment; The Hive; NTU business engagement; Environment team) 19 September 2014 24
Further information • Working with the media; a guide from the NTU Press Office • ESRC impact toolkits – Working with the Media • Vitae – The Engaging Researcher 19 September 2014 25
Questions? 19 September 2014 26
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