Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Ellipse, December edition!

The new edition of the PRBB newspaper, El·lipse, is out.

Find out which 50 countries do the PRBB residents come from, what has Patarroyo to say about his new malaria vaccine, how some scientists found the blood from Louis XVI or a new therapeutic option to combat obesity. Also, in the current-affairs debate, 5 researchers tell us about what they think will be the scientific breakthroughs for the next decade.

Do not miss it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to get your research published in the Financial Times

Today I attended a course for Press Officers on how to improve our communication style, specifically when writing press releases. The objective: to get coverage of our research in the international press.

The course was organized by AlphaGalileo and CERCA (the Catalan network of research centers), and the tutor was Myc Riggulsford. He was great, very insightful, and the workshop was fun and interesting. I learned plenty of things, but will write here just a few of the most important tips:

- The first 25 words is all most journalist will get to read from the press release: make them sexy enough, and make sure all the basic info (what, who, why, when, where, who) is in the 1st paragraph
- Make short sentences (less than 25 words) and short words (less than 7 letters)
- Simplify (a lot!) the language. A 9 to 12 year-old reader should be able to understand everything you write (ejem… wishful thinking!!)
- Avoid jargon (and my definition of what is considered jargon has been greatly expanded today!), acronyms, words in capital letters.
- Give examples
- Tell stories
- Use words of which people can make a mental image
- Use quotes (to make it more personal, not impersonal)
- Use active language, not passive
- Use short titles (less than one line) with sexy words on it
- Make sure all the info is in the text (repeat what’s said in the title/subheadings, since they might be separated from the main text)
- Repeat key words (don’t be ashamed of using the same word over and over; it helps people to follow what you are saying)
- Think of the timing when you send the press release: there’s times of the year (summer, Xmas) when it’s easier to get published
- Think where to target your press release: perhaps you might be able to have it in the business section!

There were many more, but I’ll leave it there for now. Let’s see if some of these get put into practice!!