Speaking the same language? Researchers and the media Simon Briscoe Factors affecting research use “Factors affecting research use cluster around four key areas: the extent to which the research itself is relevant, credible and meets users‟ needs; the extent to which policy makers and practitioners are willing and able to use the research; the degree of linkages between research and the policy and practice communities; and the context in research use takes place.” Nutley, S. M. et al (2007) Using Evidence: How research can inform public services, p98 ………… or to put it in plain English and change the target audience to journalists, if research is to be used by the media, it must be …….. • Relevant and credible • Available • Topical Some glowing examples …. • Institute for Fiscal Studies et al • Political polling experts • Some university units • Initiatives like science weeks and festival of social science • RES annual conference, RSS “Significance” • Some „celebrity‟ academics …....... but what about all the other staff and PhDs over the rest of the year? Non-academic impact ….. “ … committed to increasing its non academic impact and benefit to the UK in public policy, economic prosperity, culture, and quality of life.” ESRC strategic plan 2009-2014 Aims for research “ ….. that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.” HEFCE …..so why not more? The media? • Many different areas, wanting different things, requiring different approaches – and giving different results. Paper (broadsheet, tabloid, magazine, „trade‟), TV and radio, web (own pages, blogs, tweets?)? News or comment? • That day‟s news is unpredictable but what about upcoming diary events and anniversaries? ….. up against PR but can if you want (finance sector researchers) • Lord Lipsey www.straightstatistics.org FT opportunities……. • Some research outputs stand on their own and will be written up • Charts (accompany articles), support journalists • Special background web graphics • “Special reports” • Big themes - general election, the Labour years , major summits • “work with” on research projects, rankings Computer assisted reporting • Terrible term, US origin • Using databases to find stories – PCs and FoI • Small (a day‟s work – an academic “tweet”) to large (many weeks – Copenhagen) • Popular – new angle, evergreen and very web- friendly (mashups) • Researchers must forever be seeing “interesting stuff” Web access to data • Public sector not trusted to disseminate data (FT survey and suspicion of political interference) • Government departments won‟t co-operate • … and can‟t do IT projects • People want cutting edge graphics and mapping, downloads, links to educational support tools and quality research • www.stateoftheusa.org www.oecd.org/progress • Support building and prototype coming The start …….. No end of opportunities. Academic researchers have the knowledge and ability - and could be a trusted partner of a hard- pressed media increasingly sceptical of PR and government but …….. • Do researchers want it? Think ahead, be available. • Access to content and academic publications?