Making the case for your research to the general public through the media has never been more important, and this course will give you invaluable lessons from two very experienced ex-BBC journalists, Tim Grout-Smith and Lily Poberezhska. The course, which we have given at 38 UK universities, will also help you to build skills that may be crucial to getting grants in the future. Even if you have no plans to talk to journalists, the these highly transferrable skills will help you to deal with difficult questions in vivas and at academic conferences, in converting research findings to business applications and in any situation when you need to talk about your research to non-specialists.
You will learn what makes a good story in media terms, how to spot one in your own work, and how to handle the tensions between scientific/academic and journalistic methods.
Then we help you to prepare yourself for a media encounter: dealing with the initial enquiry from journalists, developing your messages, answering difficult questions with confidence and using effective interview techniques for press and the electronic media.
In the afternoon you will get a chance to practise an on-camera interview on your research subject to try out techniques learned earlier, and receive individual feedback from us on your strengths and areas for improvement.
We keep the whole day interactive, with exercises and interview practice, and we strive to make it enjoyable as well as practical. We do not believe in learning by humiliation, and seek always to build confidence, not throw you in at the deep end.
Every exercise is tailored to your individual research interest. That’s why it is really important that we get a summary of your research in non-specialist language (template will provided) at least a week before the session.
9.30 - Trainers’ introduction. Exercise: introducing yourself to a non-academic audience. What makes a good story? Understanding the Media. Language and Audience. Identifying “newsworthy” elements in your work.
11:00 - Coffee break.
11:15 - Initial contacts with the media. Your press office (optional input from university comms. staff). Exercise: Writing a headline and a summary for a press release on your work. How to get a letter published in the press, tips on using social media to attract journalists' attention to your research, and building relationships with journalists.
12:30 Interviews as an active opportunity, not a passive experience: preparing your messages. Taking control of the interview. Techniques for handling difficult or hostile questions. Specifics of printed, online and broadcast media.
13:45 – 14:15 Preparation for interview exercise. Exercise: recording of on-camera interviews for each participant (2 takes each)
14:45 tea break
14:15-17:15 Interviews, playback and discussion
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