Academics and the media

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					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?

				
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