Why Academics Should Promote Themselves

Why Academics Should Promote Themselves
Don’t be afraid of promoting what you do, there are many good
reasons to be doing it
Telling people outside the university what you do is part of your role as
a teacher
 Especially in the STEM fields, the public needs to know what
advances are happening and better understand these fields
o 2011 Research!America survey: two-thirds of Americans
could not name a single living scientist
 Could engage with prospective students who are interested in the
work you do and want to follow in your footsteps
o Role model / mentor
 News coverage will help your department, your college and your
 News coverage could help in obtaining future grants and
Promotion can include internal and external communications
 Important to let others at the university know about your work
o Helps promote your department and college
o Can help connect you with collaborators
 Intercollege collaboration is important today in grant
 Promote your efforts to the community
It’s a misperception that scientists shouldn’t promote their work
Social media is a great option for connecting with the public
Work with your institution’s public relations or communications office,
which can:
 Help you decide whether or not to do an interview
 Help promote your research or work through news releases and
media pitches or be alert for opportunities that connect with your
 Help prepare you for news interviews or working with the media
 Media train you
 Serve as a go-between with news media
 Help manage a series of media interviews
 Arrange a news conference when appropriate
If the topic is controversial, consider discussing your involvement in a
media interview with your division or department head or dean.
Working with news media can be fun – a lot of reporters are very nice
people – but you should expect:
 To be available for them when they ask
 Help them understand material that they have no expertise in
 Not to be able to review material before print
 They may get the information wrong, although no reporter goes
into a story wanting to get the details wrong
o In these cases news media are usually accommodating to
correcting material online and issuing a correction in
subsequent editions
If you are very uncomfortable speaking with a journalist, then don’t.
Requests to communicate your work could come from:
 News media
 Your institution’s communications office
 Journal
 Academic meeting
 Academic society
If contacted by a journal, academic meeting or academic society,
remember to loop in your communications officer.
 They can help you work with outside communicators
 They can use the materials developed by an outside
communicator in internal or local communications (repurposing)
Understanding Embargoes
 Not every publication or meeting has an embargo … it’s always
best to ask
 Embargoes are for the news media, not authors or institution
 Embargoes are to provide a level playing field for news media so
everyone can report on news at the same time
 You can inform your institutional communicator about impending
embargoed articles
 You can conduct an interview with a member of the news media
before an embargo lifts … it’s the reporter’s responsibility to
honor the embargo
 It’s always good to remind a reporter about an embargo
 It’s OK for your institution to distribute a news release before the
embargo lifts … the release just needs to include embargo
 Embargoes are put in place not by your institution but by the
journal publishing the article or academic meeting where the
material is being presented
There are all sorts of media to promote your work:
 General news media (Enquirer, WCPO-TV, etc.)
 Specialized news media (Chronicle of Higher Education)