Travelling to universities up and down the UK and delivering media training for their academics is one of our favourite jobs at Nine Media. Why? Well, not only are academics, researchers and lecturers a lovely bunch, they’re also brilliantly knowledgeable about their area of expertise and therefore ideal candidates to become media commentators.
But often, the academics we train have no idea why the media would love them and need to hear their voice. So, here’s why journalists need university experts…
- They provide real news
Scratch any ‘research has found’ news story and you’ll usually find this new information comes from academics, researchers and universities. When a new piece of research or paper is published, it’s usually got at least one thrilling new finding that creates a powerful news story. In a sometimes superficial news landscape, peer-reviewed academic research offers a solid counterpoint that can change perceptions or offer a totally new angle on a stale subject.
- They offer credibility to a story
Journalists in busy newsrooms work at a frantic pace – whether that’s for print, digital or broadcast outlets. They’re under huge time pressures to put stories out and don’t have time to wade through all the papers and research published on each story in huge detail. That’s where academics are hugely useful – as authors or experts commentating on stories, they’re able to assess the validity of a news story with an expert eye. The best academic experts can respond to a request for commentary swiftly and support (or not) its findings with their expertise.
- They make complex subjects accessible
Academics are incredibly knowledgeable about their subject area, which is a great asset. Often though, some academics can cloud their findings by using jargon and over-complicated language that’s not easily understood by the general public. The best academic experts are able to translate this complexity into clear, compelling quotes. Far from ‘dumbing down’, this is an exceptional skill that will take their findings to a wider audience and bring welcome attention to their research.
- They offer original insight
Coming from outside the media world is actually an advantage for academics when speaking to journalists. It means they usually come with a fresh, original take on their subject matter, that doesn’t fit into the well-worn stereotypes or received wisdom about a certain topic. Media-friendly academics who are able to respond to journalist’s requests for a comment quickly are gold dust, and hugely valued by the media.
So if you’re a university or academic institution and looking to train up your team to become media-friendly experts, get in touch with us at Nine Media. We’re highly experienced in delivering enjoyable and interactive bespoke courses to universities. Just see what recent delegate Professor Alex Stedmon of Coventry University had to say about us:
‘I must admit, the idea of a full day of training first thing on a Monday morning felt like it could be a challenge.
But how wrong could I be? The day was extremely interesting, relevant and well delivered – all key factors in providing a day where it never felt long-winded, stodgy, or hard-going. In fact the day breezed by and stimulated me to think about the media in a different way and also to find different ways of engaging with the media in future.
So, thank you. Thank you, for a day that was really bang on for what I needed.’
Get in touch with us firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help your university experts get media-ready.