March 16, 2010

Turning Research into Headline News: Tips from the Reporters

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Approximately 75 researchers in the field of nursing from around the region learned tips about how to turn their research into headline news during the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing's daylong conference, "Research into Policy: Making the Journey," on Friday, March 12.

It was everything from what to wear before the camera and how to sound on air when media and public policy experts—Dennis E. Eckart, former U.S. Congressman; Monica Robins, reporter/anchor with WKYC Channel 3 News and senior health correspondent; and Dan Moulthrop, founding host of WCPN 90.3 FM's "The Sound of Ideas" morning program—talked about telling their research stories.

The panelists from the session, "Communicating Research Findings to Key Stakeholders: How to Talk with Media Representatives, Government Officials," had some helpful hints for researchers at the nursing school and others across campus.

  • Tell the truth.
  • Don't say, "No Comment" –it makes one sound guilty.
  • Find people impacted by the research to put a human face to the research and make the story more compelling.
  • Speak with confidence—this is important for both radio and television.
  • Don't read notes but talk as though having a conversation with the reporter.
  • Explain research in short sentences or use metaphors to convey ideas.
  • Remember a television story is generally about 90 seconds long.
  • Don't look at the camera but at the reporter.
  • Dress in solid dark colors according to skin color. Avoid whites and light colors or prints that make everyone larger.

Eckhart had some quick pointers for reaching government officials:

  • Call or visit the local representative's or senator's office with request.
  • Be timely with information asked for. Do not ask for something five months before a piece of legislation goes to the floor for discussion.
  • Get the point of the visit or message in the letter.
  • Always say thank you after meeting.
  • Do not expect political favors in exchange for a donation or you may yourself in the front-page headlines.

If you have a research story that you would like to reach the media, contact your school's communication director, or university media relations representatives, who are also available to help you work with the media outreach: Susan Griffith (nursing and dental medicine, humanities, social work and university events; Marv Kropko (law, management, technology transfer); and Kevin Mayhood (engineering and science).

The Research into Policy conference was hosted by the school's SMART Center to examine how nursing research and nurse researchers influence and create health policy across different countries, settings and populations.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, March 16, 2010 11:33 AM | News Topics: Faculty, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Research

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