UBC Public Affairs and the Faculty of Science communications office work with university researchers to communicate new discoveries, scientific advances, significant funding announcements, and major events of broad interest to the media and public. We also connect members of the media seeking expert advice with appropriate UBC researchers.
Why Should Researchers Care About the Media?
Media coverage is a powerful way to inform and educate levels of government, donors and the general public about the value of your research. Funding agencies are becoming more and more interested in gaining media attention regarding the outputs of the research they fund. And at a broader, collective level, well-articulated stories about discoveries and advances help elevate the position of pure research in the minds of policy makers and the public.
Working with the media does, however, take time and effort.
Highlighting Major Journal Publications
For releases involving a variety of partners, institutions or complex subject matter, two weeks notice prior to publication. For scheduling purposes, we encourage faculty members to let us know when a paper has been accepted for publication.
A layperson summary of the paper--in some cases you’ll be asked to write this up for the journal involved. Please also include a copy of the complete paper, and let us know if any high-resolution images or video related to the paper or story are available.
The publication date, and an idea of your availability a day or two in advance of publication (for embargoed interviews), and a few days following. Your coordinates.
If the paper, project or event involved is multi-institutional, an idea of whether partners are pursuing media releases of their own, and if so, contact info for relevant institution. In the event you aren’t the PI on the paper, details on your contribution to the work.
What Reporters Want
Reporters want to know how research impacts the day-to-day lives of average individuals. Even concept-based, in-depth programs are invested in the idea of the 'story' - strong narrative, impact.
Factual information and informed interpretation. Reporters look to university researchers as unbiased and evidence-based sources of information.
Reporters are like any other busy professional. If they find a source is factual, interesting, and easy to contact, they tend to repeatedly approach that source, even if that source isn't precisely the most suitable in every particular instance.
Reporters can have a preconceived notion of the structure, tone, and implication of a story before they write or edit it. Researchers can avoid having words put into their mouths by 'staying on message' and by refraining from conjecture.
Providing Expert Advice
Each year, UBC's Public Affairs Office receives thousands of calls from print, radio, and television journalists in BC, across Canada, and around the world seeking UBC expertise on a wide range of topical issues.
To help coordinate connections between UBC researchers and reporters seeking factual information and expert opinion, Public Affairs maintains the online UBC Experts Guide. In turn, UBC Science links to some of the prominent categories of available experts via the Faculty website.
UBC Science researchers are encouraged to become a UBC expert, or if already an expert, ensuring that their information and coordinates are accurate and up-to-date.
Login to the UBC Experts Guide
UBC Public Affairs