Promoting your research
The IBMS is proud to announce that we will be sponsoring Voice of Young Science (VoYS) media workshops. This will enable us to send members, who are early career researchers, to attend their events, aimed at helping to promote their research to the media.
VoYS is a network of early career researchers from across Europe who are committed to playing an active role in public discussions about science. They were set up in 2007, by an independent campaigning charity called Sense about Science, who challenge the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life.
VoYS Standing up for Science media workshops encourage early career researchers to get their voices heard. At these day-long workshops, they have the chance to hear directly from respected science journalists, as well as from scientists with media experience. It’s an opportunity to learn how the media works, how to respond and comment, and what journalists want and expect from scientists.
Events are held each year in London, Manchester, Warwick and Edinburgh.
Top tips and ideas for researchers
Part of being a modern day scientist involves promoting your research to the public and you can use it to your advantage to help fund your areas of research. Here are some of the top tips from a VoYS media workshop
- Build relationships first with local journalists and create good links with them to send your news stories.
- Ensure that your news stories are easy to read which will help make it more likely that a journalist will use it.
- Can you explain your research to your Mum or a non-scientific friend? Making it easy to understand will help it reach a wider audience. Ask a friend or relative to read your news story before sending it to the press.
- Where possible, create easy to understand graphical abstracts to help explain your research. Imagery sells.
- If you have a press office, use it to help publish your work and to reach out to journalists.
- Although presenting on TV or radio is hard at first it does get easier the more you do it. Some stories break as the day goes on and if you are involved in one you will have lots of interviews to do. Use it as practice.
- Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” when asked a question by a journalist. Use it as an opportunity to discuss what you do know – steer the question to your expertise or field of research.
- Blogs are a great way to get your work out to the public and to hone your writing skills.
- Using social media is a great way to engage with the public but do not get involved in arguments – you cannot change the views of everyone, even if you know you are right.
- Use social media to approach journalists as most, if not all, have accounts.
- Journalists receive thousands of emails every day and delete all that don’t catch the eye. Make yours stand out with a good headline – not “save the date”.
- Keep your message short – can you summarise your message in 140 characters?
- Local media love science and it is a great way to start getting your message heard.
- Most news stories start in local media and work their way up. The BBC share stories across their local and national network.
- A lot of local newspapers have “A day in the life of” features. This could be a great way to get yourself and research known.
- Member of an organisation? If you have a news story make sure you inform them so that they can help to promote your work. IBMS members can email email@example.com and we can post it on our website, promote through our social media channels, as well as offer advice on how to write press releases and who to send it to.
For more information on the workshops and to read about some of the other science campaigns they are involved with, visit the Voice of Young Science website
You can also download the Sense About Science Public engagement practical guide
“The Voice of Young Science Standing up for Science media workshop was an amazing event in which you could listen and also discuss science and the media with knowledgeable, interesting and informative scientists on the panel then ask them about their experiences and advice in dealing with the media.
It was also great to be able to interact and question journalists on their advice and find out the best way to get your research into the media, get practical guidance on what is the best way to question bad science and how to get your voice heard. Also, it was a great opportunity to meet like-minded scientists from a variety of scientific backgrounds. What a brilliant day!”
IBMS Member Lauren McNeill, who attended the Manchester workshop in April 2017