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ACCE Communication and Media Training (2nd year students)

May 13 - May 14

This event is for second year students only.

By the end of this course, delegates will have learned the basics of communicating with journalists and other
non-specialists. They will have produced a piece of work, in the form of a draft press release, that can form the
basis of future outreach work or interactions with the media. They will have had the opportunity to practice their
skills in a radio interview exercise.

Each student will attend only one day.

You will be contacted in Febuary to sign up to a day, if you have not heard anything by March and think you should have been invited, please email

Course Outline

Introductions and aims. Brainstorm: why bother with the media? Opportunities and pitfalls.
Fundamental principles of communicating your research to non-specialists.
Making your science accessible: key principles of popular style structure.
News In Brief case study: the quintessence of effective communication and news writing.
Exercise: study a research paper abstract. How would you restructure it into a popular-style article?
How to inspire an audience and show why your research matters. Using lively language and avoiding jargon.
Exercise: write a short press release about your project.
How science hits the headlines: a day in the life of a science journalist, how science reaches the news.
Press releases, embargoes and the role of the press office.
Best practice when dealing with the media: a case study of how and why a science story was misreported.

Lunch break

What makes science newsworthy? “News values” and editorial angles. A case study of how different
newspapers reported the same science story differently.
Editorial meeting exercise: students break out into groups of 4 or 5. Each group role plays an editorial meeting
at a different newspaper or science magazine. Groups report back with their stories and headlines.
Oral communication and broadcast media basics: How oral communication differs from the written word.
Requirements for radio/ podcast interviews.
Simulated “roving reporter” group radio interviews.
Final discussion and END

Trainer: Dr Jon Copley

Jon is the Chairman of SciConnect, Associate Professor of Marine Ecology at the University of Southampton,
and an alumnus of APS at the University of Sheffield. As a scientist, he has established a program of public
engagement that has been highlighted by RCUK as an example of “best practice” in generating impact from
research. His deep-sea research routinely makes the headlines, and he has given more than 100 media
interviews about his team’s work since 2008. Jon is also a former reporter and news editor at New Scientist


May 13
May 14


ACCE DTP, University of Sheffield


Alfred Denny Building, Common room, D219
Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
SHEFFIELD, S102TN United Kingdom
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