Will my research make a good news story?

Linda Barclay Isles
Thursday 18 January 2024

Getting media coverage for university research can be a challenging task, despite the significant contributions that academics make to our society.

Although research findings may be significant and interesting to academics and their networks, the harsh truth is that they may not be relevant or interesting to a general public audience.

More than ever, the media landscape is incredibly competitive, with countless stories vying for attention each day. News editors have a lot of audience data at their fingertips that tells them the type of stories readers engage with most, which informs what topics they choose to cover.

Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about putting your research forward for publicity:

  • Is it new? It’s easier to get media to cover new projects
  • Is it relevant? Can lots of people relate to what the research is about?
  • Is there human interest? Can someone talk about how the research will impact them?
  • Is it timely? Would the release coincide with major current news stories or events?
  • Does it challenge current thinking on a major topic?
  • Will it change the way things are done? Address a conflict?
  • Will it affect people’s health or wealth?
  • Is it the first, largest, fastest, newest?
  • Is there a strong local interest angle?
  • Is there a strong visual angle?  Think about images or video, for journalists to use?

Even if your research doesn’t fit the bill, there are other steps that you can take to make your work more newsworthy and accessible to journalists in future. This can include learning how to create a concise and engaging summary of your findings, building your own profile on social media, and getting involved with communities and networks of interest around your subject area.

Get in touch with the communications team if you’d like to discuss this topic in more detail. Email [email protected]

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