Some Guidelines for Scientists Interacting with the Press

Some greats tips for scientists interacting with the press from Nature.

Know your audience… Understanding this will help you to talk to them at the appropriate level of detail.

The medium matters. The depth and type of question differ depending on whether the journalist is from radio, television, or an online or print publication. Deadline pressures — daily, weekly or monthly — also affect the agenda and level of detail.

Be diligent. Consider looking at earlier work by the reporter to make sure that he or she has produced quality pieces [AMEN!]….“You shouldn’t answer the phone and start talking.”

Prepare. Think about the message you want to convey and the 3–5 major points you want to make. But be ready for an interview to go in an unexpected direction.

Don’t go beyond your knowledge.

You can ask to check quotes and other contributions, but reporters may refuse.

Be careful when trying to be funny if that is not your natural manner — it could flop terribly, or backfire.

As you proceed with the interview, look for cues that the reporter understands your comments and explanations.

When you sign off, make sure to provide your contact info and let the reporter know how and when you will be available if further explanation is needed.

Make sure you check out the rest of article as well. Outreach: Meet the press : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.

Dr. M (1714 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.