Media training 101: helping researchers become engaged academics

Over the next week my team at the University of Ottawa will be hosting media training sessions for professors. Although some of our experts are extremely media-savvy and understand the ups and downs of communicating their research to the greater public, others remain a little weary.

I recently read a blog by James Bell on Text 100-UK. He states,

“Media training is meant to help people communicate the messages that they want to get across.” 

It can thus be useful for professors who have a lot to say, but need to be succinct so that journalists can capture the essence of their comments.

One of the main concerns we run into is that researchers do not like when journalists use only part of what they say in newspaper reports or television interviews, as they feel it dilutes their message.

This is why media training is valuable: to help experts better understand how the media works so that they may communicate their vast knowledge in laymen’s terms, using smaller bites of information.

I first heard of the term “engaged academic” from uOttawa professor, Roland Paris, who is extremely media-savvy and communicates his vast knowledge on international security and governance by way of the mainstream media on a regular basis. He makes recommendations for getting professors out of their ivory towers:  

“Part of this engagement should include translating our own research into readable language and formats for people outside the discipline.”

The media is definitely one way to do this.

I am looking forward to meeting new professors this year with interesting research to share!

Photo credit:http://www.mediatrainingworldwide.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/110413-interviews.jpg

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