Science of press releases – can we have our cake and eat it?

13 August 2014
  • Start: 18:30
  • End: 22:00
  • Location:

Read the event report  Stempra Special General Meeting to appoint Stempra treasurer for 2014-15 We are looking for your help as part of an ESRC-funded randomised controlled trial on how different factors in press releases can help improve science news coverage. We need you to tell us how to do this in a way that will be useful for everyone and, most importantly, in a way that will actually give press officers the evidence they need to maintain quality of coverage without sacrificing quantity. Press officers are under continuous pressure to maximise media interest in their press releases without hyping and damaging the reputation of their institutions, all whilst coping with huge amounts of competition, over-excited scientists and unrealistic expectations of bosses who don’t understand the media. Treading the right line is incredibly tough, but increasingly important. Most of the UK population use the national media as their main sources of new health and science information, and since most of these stories start life as a press release, they can have a huge impact on how the public feels or thinks on anything from statins to stem cells to sugar. Wouldn’t it be great to know how to maximise media impact whilst maintaining the accuracy of press releases – and having the evidence to prove it? That’s what we’re trying to discover but we need your help. Our previous research suggests that small changes to the way press releases are written could make everybody happy, reducing exaggeration while maintaining or even boosting media interest. But now we need to do a bigger and better study. Come along to meet us, tell us what you think of our plans, what we need to change and what we would need to do to get you to be a part of this big experiment. Confirmed speakers: Prof Chris Chambers and Prof Petroc Sumner, Cardiff University In addition to all this, we’ll be holding a Special General Meeting on the night. At our AGM this year, Simon Levey stood down as treasurer, with no-one running to replace him. The fantastic Sallie Robbins has been performing the Treasurers’ duties since April and is keen to formally take on the mantle. This is a named role in the constitution, and the motion must be voted on before she can be fully appointed Treasurer of Stempra for 2014-15. Please book your place by emailing  
Mock Image Credit: U.S. Department of State, Flickr