Working with your comms team

Most research organisations have staff dedicated to managing media interactions, usually called communications managers, press officers or media advisors.

Their job is to help you work with the media. Communications staff are usually former journalists or public relations professionals. They know how the media work and how to promote a good science story.

Remember key messages

“It is easy to get lost in the detail of your research. Think about why you are doing the interview; what is your purpose in engaging with the media? Then identify three key messages about your research that support your purpose and keep returning to them.”
Aimee Wilkins,
Communications Manager, AUT University

Media can do science well

“There seems to be a view that the media often gets things wrong or add ‘spin’ to stories. We find there are some fantastic science reporters in New Zealand. They assiduously work hard to tell science stories well and right.”
Megan McPherson, Head of Communications, University of Otago

Take the long view

“A successful media strategy, much like science, requires relationships and collaboration, often over the long term. You’ll have a much higher chance of getting good media coverage of your science when you want it if you engage on other issues where media are seeking help with a story.”
Emma Timewell, Communications Manager, Plant & Food Research

TIP: Whenever you are contacted by a journalist, or think your work will attract media interest, it is a good idea to get in touch with the communications team – as early as possible – and keep them in the loop
They can assist you with:

  • Advice on the best ways to publicise your research
  • Writing press releases, opinion pieces or blog posts
  • Media training, from key messages to crisis management


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