Navigating science PR in African institutions

Improved media coverage of research benefits African institutions Copyright: Flickr/OECD Development Centre

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This guide, published by the Wellcome Trust, provides practical advice to help media officers working in African institutions improve the communication of scientific research to the public, policymakers and funders.

It was developed in consultation with African science journalists and media officers, and published as part of a capacity-building project supported by the Wellcome Trust, SciDev.Net, the 2011 World Conference of Science Journalists, Stempra and Green Ink.

The guide outlines the role of a media officer and offers tips on how to promote research responsibly, for example, by ensuring that claims made in a press release are supported by peer-reviewed research.  

It also outlines how to source newsworthy stories, how to write a press release and how to pitch stories to print, radio and television journalists. And it offers practical advice on how to identify opportunities such as conferences to promote research, use new platforms including social media, and provide a local angle on published research.

The document also helps officers manage collaborative work with journals, agencies and freelancers, organise events such as press briefings, and prepare scientists for speaking to the media.

The guide concludes by presenting three case-studies highlighting challenges through the experience of media professionals working in Kenya.

This guide was written by Marina Joubert of Southern Science, South Africa, and Elspeth Bartlet of Green Ink, UK, in collaboration with Engela Duvenage of Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Link to guide  [495kB]