This guide has been designed to support strategic thinking on media engagement and to address researchers’ need to act autonomously.
It offers step-by-step practical advice on working with different sections of the media, as well as considerations in developing a media strategy. The guide is predominantly aimed at UK staff but many of the points are relevant for researchers internationally.
Why should researchers engage with the media?
There are many opportunities – and some risks – from engaging with the media. By building up relationships of trust with journalists and providing materials in an accessible manner, you will increase media understanding of your research messages and reduce potential risks in media engagement. The media needs you. A public affairs or communications specialist can be relied on to handle the media well, but it is your in-depth understanding of an issue that journalists and broadcasters are really interested in. As a researcher, you add credibility to a news story. You can get across the complex issues that your research reflects, and at the same time bring human interest (drawn from case studies, household surveys or anthropological content).
Bringing your research to the attention of journalists can help you to:
Inform and share findings with the general public, specialist audiences and policy-makers
Strengthen links with other organisations and networks
Generate wider public debate of research findings
Influence policy and practice
Promote research accountability
Stimulate others to challenge policy-makers to respond to research findings
Market and raise the profile of your research programme, organisation or an individual researcher.
For a discussion of these opportunities from engaging with the media, see Getting into the Kitchen: Media strategies for research.