The bare bones: your research story.

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The bare bones: your research story
Michael Robin APR, Research Communications Specialist
www.usask.ca
You gonna make this worth my while?



People are busy. Why should
they stop and read your story?
You need a good hook to pull
them in.
Create a sentence – the “lede”
that raises questions, that
intrigues the reader.
Janna Schurer, parasitology, La Loche
Yeah, man, I can relate



What matters to your
audience?
Why do they care about it?
Make it personal. Use
anecdotes, describe real
people’s experiences.
Jeff Sereda, Lake Diefenbaker
We’re live, on location

Have some stories from the field? Bring your
readers with you.

What does it look like?
Sound like? Smell like?
Gregg Adams: something in semen messes with the female brain
But is it a story?

These principles apply:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)

News is new
Timing – breaking story,
current topic
Significance
Proximity
Prominence
Human interest
The “cool” factor
Tracy MacDonald: effects of mercury toxicity in fish
That is *way* cool



Look for anything that is
surprising, startling, or just
plain cool.
Start with plain language,
and have some fun with it.
E.g.:“Godwin’s Electric Bugs.”
Jonathan Godwin: microbial fuel cells
Cool – you’ll know it when you see it

The “cool” factor:
a)
b)
c)
Doesn’t necessarily
affect people’s
lives
People interested:
think kids and
dinosaurs
“I f**king love
science blog and
associated social
media
Examples
Story criteria:
a) Global warming
b) Drinking water
c) Publication
prominence
Show me…

Da money
a)
b)

Tri-agencies need content,
we want their audience
Who needs to know? Are
there any embargoes?
Da respect
a)
Name your supervisor, and
any collaborators as
appropriate.
Sarah Crawford: bioavailability of uranium around mines
Do not open until ___________

Respect embargoes
a)
b)

Tri-agencies have rules on
how and when your grant
information can be released
Published a paper? Work
with the journal to respect
their
Look for opportunities
a)
Does your story coincide
with something in the
news?
Heather Allaway and friends: Mars Desert Program
Exercise

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Write the “hook” for your research story.
Answer the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, why) and
“how.”
Identify your funding agency.
Identify what photos or visuals you will need to support
your story.
Identify any time restrictions (embargos,
opportunities).
Where are you going to shop your story around?
Questions?
Michael Robin
Research Communications Specialist
306-966-1425
[email protected]
Ryan Taschuk: a vaccine against chronic wasting disease
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