Lessons learned: Media releases in a rapidly changing landscape

By: Kathy MacLean

Our newsroom places considerable emphasis on telling research success stories. Today’s media releases are written with attention grabbing headlines and carefully crafted stories; stories that help our audience understand the value of our brand. If done well content is shared, and networks are strengthened. While we are making huge strides, there is still room for improvement, and there are important lessons to be learned.

Content:  Headlines that hook, stories that resonate with the audience  

The University’s “Can you judge a man by his fingers” article has been the most visited and shared release on the newsroom site of late. Clearly written with the reader in mind, the writing is playful, informative and conversational. The piece is scientifically accurate but tells us this through a carefully crafted story. In essence, this is the voice of new style media releases.

Links have been provided to enable readers to share the story on various social media platforms.  Individuals interested in reading the source material or similar health related stories have the opportunity to do so.

What did the researchers learn? “Men with short index fingers and long ring fingers are on average nicer towards women.”  They were born that way.

Sharing: News travels  

This tweet, accompanied by an interesting, fresh, visual,  was sent to the University’s 60K Twitter followers.  Interestingly, the message is retweeted over and over yet remains virtually unchanged.


Law of Unintended Consequences 

Oddly, the posting on the University Facebook page originates from a Daily Mail article. The British paper is “often criticized by doctors and scientists for its sensationalist reporting on medical subjects” simply gives me the feeling that I am reading tabloid news.  Then again, sometimes I skim through long articles to get to the comments section.

“Never date a man with small digits” Greta (Kolding Denmark), Daily Mail


Yes sometimes, stuff happens and it is through these experiences that we learn and grow.  Great releases do help us sell our brand. However, strategies have to be built to ensure the right story, gets to the right place, in the right format, at the right time.






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