This is a companion blog to "Communicating Your Professional and Scholarly Work with the Media," part of the Culture of Research & Education (C.O.R.E.) webinar series.

The true power of scholarly research is realized when it is exposed to the general public. If you're presented with an opportunity to discuss your research with the media, these are some key guidelines to follow.

  1. It is up to you to control the message: The answer is always more important than the question, so you should always make it count. Present the facts, which should always be based on verifiable data, and don't deviate by speculating or going off on a tangent.
  2. Brevity is paramount: The longer your answer, the less impact it will have. Before you sit down for that media opportunity, get all of your notes in order. Present your findings in layman's terms and in a clear, concise manner.
  3. Do your homework: As soon as you secure a media opportunity, you need to do your homework – this will guide how you approach the entire process. Research other interviews or articles written by your interviewer. Learn about the outlet (newspaper, blog, TV program, etc.), how they've covered your area of expertise in the past, who the audience is, and the geographic area it covers. All of these points – and more – will shape your response, anecdotes used, and how you prepare just before the interview – especially if it's over the phone or on-camera.
  4. Maintain confidence: It is up to you to remain confident through the duration of the interview. You are the expert! If your findings are based on strong evidence, you have the tools to confidently communicate, and control, the message. Additionally, be mindful of your body language if you're on-camera – don't fidget, maintain eye contact, and if appropriate, smile. Don't be defensive and always be prepared to respond to leading or if/then questions.
  5. Build relationships with the media: Journalists work in a rapid fire, deadline-oriented world and having reputable sources makes their jobs easier and grows their reputation as a media professional. As an expert, you are that reputable source. By offering your insights or quotes, especially on hot button issues, you don't just fill a need for the journalist – you help yourself and your institution out as well. Not only do you go on record as an expert in your chosen field, you serve the public good by communicating your research to a wider audience. Keep in mind that "serving the public good" is a requirement for many grants.

View the entire "Communicating Your Professional and Scholarly Work with the Media," presented by Marketing Specialist Daniel Sloan and hosted by Dr. Bernice B. Rumala, C.O.R.E. Chair and Program Director, Ph.D. in Health Sciences.

Daniel Sloan's digital marketing expertise goes back more than a decade, starting out in the music industry where he oversaw public relations, social media, artist management, and radio promotion. He earned his MBA from the University of California, Irvine, focusing on marketing and international business. In his current role at Trident he drives the content management strategy, handling public relations, webinars, social media, and blogging.