Explaining research to the media or the public at large can be a challenge. Below are several resources to assist in developing a message and driving it home. The LSU Department of Research Communications offers media training. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How you can help your PIO — from Dennis Meredith
Your public information officer, or PIO, has basically the same goal as you do: to disseminate accurate, compelling information on your research to the widest possible audience. Here are some of the tips for helping your PIO, gleaned from the online section “Working with Public information Officers,” available in Explaining Research:
- Tip PIOs early to a publication, even when a paper has just been accepted.
- Give them access to you for interviews, media contacts, etc.
- Tell them your communication needs and expectations.
- Give them quick feedback on release drafts, requests for interviews, and media requests.
- Simplify the release editorial/approval process.
- Give them background on your work for their stories, for example lay-level articles on your field.
- Respect the lay-level news release style. Do not rewrite the release into a technical paper.
- Give them good story ideas, for example for features on you or your colleagues.
- Take no for an answer if the PIO does not wish to cover a piece of work. There may be reasons, and you can find other ways to reach your audiences.
- Advocate for your PIO in budgets.
- Commend your PIO when he/she does a good job for you.
- “Embed” your PIO by inviting him/her on field trips and other coverage opportunities.