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Media Training

11th May 2016 @ 9:00 am - 12th May 2016 @ 5:00 pm

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Ph.D. Student Media Training Course Outline 

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.

Course Outline (Programme)

  • Introductions and aims. Brainstorm: why bother with the media? Opportunities and pitfalls.
  • Fundamental principles of communicating your research to non-specialists.
  • Making you 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 of 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.


11th May 2016 @ 9:00 am
12th May 2016 @ 5:00 pm


ACCE DTP, University of Sheffield


University of Sheffield, Alfred Denny Building, Lecture Theatre 1
Alfred Denny Building, APS
Sheffield, United Kingdom
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