Talk to the media?

21.06.2004
NorFA‘s latest course initiative, media training for research students from the Nordic and Baltic countries, was organised in Helsinki on 10th and 11th June. The participants came to learn how the media work and how researchers can get their message through.
The course contained both lectures and practical exercises, of which the latter were highly appreciated by the 15 participants. Responsible course lecturer was the experienced advisor Helena von Troil in co-operation with the journalists Magnus Londen and Jari Mäkinen.

Several participants mentioned the press release exercise and the TV interviews as particularly useful. They also valued the concrete advice such as what to do when a journalist telephones you unexpectedly. Important factors to remember when in contact with the media, is for instance to clearify who the journalist is and whom he/she represents, to agree on the conditions of the interview, to remember that the telephone conversation might be taped, and to let the journalist know if you would like to check the result or at least approve the quotations before the article is printed or the interview is broadcasted.

The participant Chiara Valentini, currently working on a doctoral thesis in communication at the University of Jyväskylä, makes the following comment:
-During this course in media training organised by NorFA I understood the importance for a researcher to know how to diffuse clearly its own scientific discoveries and results. During that two-days-course professional journalists came to teach us the basic knowledge to catch media attention and to deal with them by using practical methods. I think NorFA has organised a very useful course for doctoral students in a friendly manner and at the same time in a very professional way.

MD Norbertas Skokauskas, PhD candidate in psychiatry at Kaunas University of Medicine, adds:
-I found the NorFA Media training course extremely interesting. My research concerns adolescents‘ addictions and this is a catchy topic for the media. So the lectures and practical exercises were suitable training for me. Moreover, here we were able to ask and discuss themes concerning media and science with professional journalists. This course was really unique and useful.
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