News releases are intended to spark media interest in your research activities and compel reporters to write and film stories about them.
In a nutshell, this is how the process works: You notify a media relations representative at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, or one notifies you, about a newsworthy paper being published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. You work with your representative to craft a news release. Your rep runs it by all the involved parties, including your home institution’s media reps, and then passes it along to his/her editor. The rep then distributes it to the media via e-mail, news wire services and by contacting individual reporters. Interested reporters request interviews with the involved parties, ask questions, take notes, capture audio and video and produce an article or segment.
The media relations office has no control over when, or if, a media outlet will use the story – nor do we have the opportunity to review the content in advance. Though news releases are vetted carefully by ASBMB and your home institution, what reporters choose to write about or show on TV is totally at their discretion. That’s why it is vital to work closely with reporters and help them understand the information we provide. If you are uncomfortable with this process and would feel better about doing interviews if you had some practice and tips, please contact your media relations representative.
Whenever you agree to work on a news release, you are making a significant commitment of time, patience and good faith. Sometimes it can take a media relations representative several weeks to complete a release, depending upon various factors, such as the availability of authors and the time needed for the approval process. Once a release is distributed to the media, you will be expected to be flexible, willing and available for all media interview requests. Those who are being featured are expected to go “on the record” in print, on the radio or on television. You are strongly encouraged to provide your media relations rep with your e-mail address and work, home and cell phone numbers, because you never know when the media will call. The news business is unpredictable. But, if you make yourself available, they will give you publicity.
To start getting publicity, please provide the following information -- in terms an eighth-grader would understand -- to your media relations representative. Keep in mind that the process can be lengthy, and this is just the first step, so start early to get the kind of results you desire.
WHO is involved in the project? Please include titles, affiliations and specific roles for each stakeholder. Do not use abbreviations or jargon.
WHAT research results are you announcing? Please use terms an eighth-grader would understand.
WHEN will your results be published?
WHICH agencies are funding the research and for what time period?
WHERE is the research being conducted and published?
CONTACT info is required for each stakeholder. Please include e-mail addresses and office phone numbers. You are strongly encouraged to also provide home and cell phone numbers.
WHY do you think these results or this project will interest everyday newspaper readers or TV viewers? How will your work either immediately or one day affect the general public? Remember that a news release is intended to generate media coverage that appeals to the general public. It is not intended to appeal only to your peers.
HOW can we use visuals to complement a TV or print report? What kinds of places, people or things can be photographed or videotaped? When are you available for a photo shoot by your home institution’s photographer? Please note that media outlets will schedule shoots at other times.
SUGGEST a time for a phone interview with your ASBMB media relations representative.