PIOs

 

Health News and the Importance of News Releases

Posted 10 December 2014 by Matt Shipman

A new study from the BMJ highlights the link between exaggeration in news releases about health-related research and exaggeration in news stories about that same research. And, in a timely coincidence, a project based out of the University of Minnesota has announced that it will be holding people accountable for misleading news releases. A paper describing the work, “The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study,” by Petroc Sumner, et al., was... Read more

Beyond The News Release – How PIOs Can Connect With The Public

Posted 18 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Public information officers (PIOs) at research institutions are responsible for helping their employers connect with the public. Often this is through conventional media relations and social media efforts. But sometimes PIOs can find other ways, unconventional ways, of connecting with various audiences. To explore these issues, Karen Kreeger, senior science communications manager at Penn Medicine, organized a session for this year’s National Association of Science Writers meeting at Ohio State University. The session, “Beyond the News Release Grind: Connecting with... Read more

Science Blogging for Institutions: Your Virtual Roundup of the ScienceWriters2014 #OrgBlog Session

Posted 16 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Rachel Ewing, a science and health news officer at Drexel University. Ewing is the organizer and moderator of a session called “Science Blogging for Institutions: How to Make Your #OrgBlog the Best it Can Be” at the National Association of Science Writers annual conference. This weekend at the National Association of Science Writers meeting in Columbus, OH, we’re going to talk about a topic that may be familiar to readers of Matt’s... Read more

Readable, Accurate and Engaging: an Interview with Terry Devitt

Posted 1 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Off the top of my head, I can list dozens of websites that offer readers science news. But in 1996, there were very few websites devoted exclusively to sharing high-quality science writing. One of the first sites to step into that niche was The Why Files, and it’s still cranking out stories almost two decades later. One of the founders of The Why Files is Terry Devitt, who is also the director of research communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.... Read more

Can Public Relations Be Science Communication?

Posted 22 September 2014 by Matt Shipman

In its most recent issue, the Journal of Science Communication raises the question of whether public communication efforts from research institutions are public relations or science communication. To address the question, the journal has published five commentaries, each of which covers a specific aspect of the issue and takes a different position. I wrote one of the commentaries. The commentaries (all of which are open access and can be found here) include an introductory piece by Rebecca Carver, who sums... Read more

Where Do You Go To Learn About The Practice of Science Communication?

Posted 18 September 2014 by Matt Shipman

Where do you go for information about the practice of science communication? I’m asking not only because I’m always looking to improve my own science communication efforts, but for a personal, selfish reason. In fact, I’m not sure how to write about this without simultaneously confessing my own ignorance AND sounding self-congratulatory (a singularly off-putting combination). I really do want to know where I can learn more from other science communication practitioners and I really do have selfish reasons for... Read more

Choosing Between Blog Posts and News Releases

Posted 5 September 2014 by Matt Shipman

In my day job, I’m a public information officer (PIO) at NC State University. Part of my job is to pitch research stories to reporters, and two of the tools I use when pitching stories are blog posts and news releases. This post discusses two examples that shed some light on how I decide which tool to use. The Similarities Earlier this summer, researchers came to me with two forthcoming papers. They had a lot in common. Both papers were... Read more

Institutional Blogging: Do You Really Want To Do This?

Posted 4 August 2014 by Matt Shipman

Someone where you work (maybe it’s you), says: “Maybe we should start a blog.” Why not? Lots of people have blogs, and some of them are really popular. So maybe your office should start a blog about all of the stuff going on at your university, research lab, department, or whatever. After all, you’re doing stuff that’s really cool and you want people to know about it. But then the questions start. How much would it cost? Who would write... Read more

Social Media 101: Notes From My Talk At Sharing Science

Posted 27 June 2014 by Matt Shipman

I was recently invited to speak at a conference called Sharing Science: Writing and Communications Skills for the 21st Century. The June 27 conference was aimed at “science and health writers working for universities, non-profits and hospitals,” and was held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with support from the National Association of Science Writers. Specifically, I was asked to speak, along with Lee Aase of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, on issues related to new media and social... Read more

Context is Key: Reporters, PIOs, and Handling Health Study Findings Responsibly

Posted 14 May 2014 by Matt Shipman

Coffee is good for you. Or bad for you. The same can be said for red wine, chocolate, and eggs. It depends on which news story you just read. Media coverage of health research can give readers cognitive whiplash. There’s an explanation for this. “The reason the stories contradict each other is because the studies contradict each other,” Virginia Hughes wrote in a May 12 post at her blog, Only Human. “The science of health is so, so confusing, I... Read more