How to Media Relate

Communicating Astronomy With the Public - CAPjournal, December 2010

Talking to the media about a particular expertise or passion might seem easy, but not knowing certain details of the media interaction process often prevents science communicators from sharing their knowledge and expressing their enthusiasm to journalists and, through them, to their final audience, the public. My first article in Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal* gives some advice on how to make the most of talking to the press.

Communication between science communicators and journalists is challenging because a misstep anywhere in the process can mean failure or success. So it is crucial for a communicator to develop media relations skills that can help to get a story across.

The article looks at two situations: when a communications person interacts proactively with journalists and when s/he reacts to a media request. In short, my suggestions would be to:

  • Research! (the background of the journalist you want to approach, the media outlet s/he works for, the topic you want to promote)
  • Follow! (the journalist’s articles, blog posts, Tweets)
  • Interact! (comment, re-tweet, start a dialogue)
  • Relate! (give him/her opportunities to write good stories)
  • React! (help him/her out when s/he has a story and you could give some inputs; make all efforts to get him access to as much information as possible and in time!)

But make sure you do all this naturally! As a communication person this willingness to interact and make friends with people should run through your veins anyway, so it should be easy for you :) Show genuine interest in the journalist’s work, comment according to your true opinions, re-tweet things you find interesting.

Read the full article here.

*The CAPjournal is a free peer-reviewed journal for astronomy communicators, online and in print. You can get a free subscription to the print version here.

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Comments
2 Responses to “How to Media Relate”
  1. osago says:

    I do not regret that spent a couple of minutes to read. Write often, yet surely’ll go read something new.

  2. This is the book I wish I had read before I purchased my SCT (to understand what I was getting into) and that I wish had come as its user’s guide. While it provides great explanations and many useful tips on setting up and using an SCT, it also honestly describes potential drawbacks (e.g., weight, transportability). Mr. Mollise also understands — and wryly comments on — "reality" for many amateur astronomers: At one point he descibes the many amateurs who talk about astrophotography but never quite get to the point of taking a picture — which is true of many amateurs.

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