Press releases are becoming an increasingly powerful force in driving online science coverage. Even the best science writers use them to inspire articles and provide background information. However, they have also been implicated in some egregious examples of science communication, where problems with the publicity have received more attention than the science itself. This session will discuss how press releases should be improved, focusing on the needs of science writers.
- What are the minimum requirements for a good press release?
- How can we make press releases — which are generally one-size-fits-all — useful for news organizations with vastly different practices?
- Is there a way to make the process more efficient for both PIOs and reporters?
- Do writers prefer to have information given under embargo and if so, how much time is preferred?
- Should attempts be made to explain the importance of a result, or is there too much potential for hype?
- How useful are quotes in press releases?
- How useful is it for PIOs to provide independent experts for comment and context?
- How much effort should be spent producing deeper context or background in case longer articles are being considered?
- What do reporters think of alternatives to the standard press release? E.g. just posting a title, lede, quotes and a link to the paper?
- What about stopping traditional press releases & instead advertizing blog articles with social media? What are some other alternatives?