At Boston University, we believe communication is vital to scientific endeavors, and we want to empower our faculty and community to communicate in effective, compelling, and accessible ways. Our Strategic Communications Series, co-hosted by the Office of Research and the PR | Social Media team, is designed to do just that.
Learn about upcoming sessions on our events page, or browse videos from past workshops below.
Ask a Reporter Anything: Live Q&A Discussing How the News Works
In this conversation moderated by SciLine—a service from the American Association for the Advancement of Science that connects US scientific experts to journalists for print, broadcast, and digital stories—faculty were invited to ask questions of three high-profile reporters and editors:
Peter Prengaman, global climate and environmental news director for The Associated Press,
Lena Sun, health reporter for The Washington Post, and
Claire Caulfield, freelance podcast producer and audio reporter.
Attendees learned how media selects topics and story angles, how journalists source experts, and best practices for media pitches, interviews, and relationship building. The session also covered the professional expectations and challenges reporters face when covering science-related issues—and how to successfully weave your findings, perspectives, and insights into the news cycle.
The Conversation: Op-ed Writing and Pitching Workshop
This engaging and informative workshop shared tips about op-ed writing and how to pitch media. It was led by editors at The Conversation, an influential media outlet that publishes content exclusively from academics and researchers.
Deputy editor Emily Costello, and senior science and technology editor Maggie Villiger covered the best practices for op-ed pitching, drafting, and placement, as well as how to take advantage of The Conversation and work most effectively with its editorial staff. Whether you are brand new to op-ed writing or looking for a refresher, this workshop is uniquely geared towards helping faculty, researchers and scientists of all disciplines write about their work in a way that can inform public debate and shape scientific, cultural and intellectual agendas.
Engaging with Science Media
Learn to communicate your expertise to journalists and other audiences this interactive workshop facilitated by Meredith Drosback and Tori Fosheim from SciLine, a program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science connecting US journalists to scientific experts for print, broadcast, and digital stories about science-related issues.
Lights. Camera. Action: Broadcast Interview Tips & Tricks
Less than comfortable speaking on live TV or radio? You are not alone. However, learning how to present yourself on camera and during an interview, is key to communicating your expertise and increasing visibility for your research. This discussion about the broadcast industry highlighted its evolution beyond TV and radio, where to look for media opportunities, and how to ace on-air interviews.
Panelists included Mike Fernandez, former professor of strategic communication at Boston University; Lindsay Schwimer, manager, media relations strategy at PAN Communications; Arianne Chernock, associate professor of History at Boston University; Joe Bergantino, co-founder and executive director emeritus of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and clinical professor emeritus at Boston University; Sarah Grucza, communications specialist, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University, and Rachel Lapal, assistant vice president of Public Relations | Social Media at Boston University. The panelists talk about the difference between print and broadcast interviews, the power of broadcast in elevating research and thought-leadership, and how to best prepare for each type of interview.
Pitching and Writing Workshop with The Conversation
This engaging and informative remote workshop was led by Michelle McAdams, university relationship manager and members editor at The Conversation, covered best practices for pitching, drafting, and placement for a variety of media outlets. McAdams also highlighted how to take advantage of The Conversation, an influential media outlet that publishes content exclusively from academics and researchers, and work most effectively with its editorial staff.
Working with the Media
A panel with members of the media, featuring Bruce Gellerman, reporter for WBUR; Evan Hadingham, senior science editor for NOVA; Helen Branswell, infectious disease and public health reporter for STAT; and David Corcoran, former editor of the New York Times’ Science Times, senior editor of Undark, and associate director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT. The panelists, who regularly cover science, research, and new discoveries, discussed what makes a good story, what makes a good interview, and how researchers and scientists can best share their findings and expertise with a wide audience. Faculty learned how to effectively communicate the substance of their work in a meaningful and media-friendly way.
This workshop brought together podcast experts to share information and tips from what to know before starting a podcast, how to structure your podcast, best practices for recording, tips for podcast guests and much more. Kerry Donahue and Lindsay Abrams from PRX along with Boston University professor Anne Donohue provided the audience with thoughtful analysis and recommendations.
Podcasts are a great way to share research findings, build your academic network, and engage the general public in your work. Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned podcaster looking to gain new skills, this orientation offers valuable information and insight.
Science Through Video: How to Tell a Compelling Story
Journals, funding agencies, and media outlets often seek video assets when reporting on science. The good news is that all of us have a camera—our cell phones—with us at all times. But how best to use this tool? This workshop examined what makes a good visual story, how to distill a message, and how to use video to promote research. Panelists included Karen Warkentin, professor of biology at CAS; James Bird, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science & engineering at ENG, Christine Daniloff, creative director of MIT News, Hilary Katulak, associate director of public relations at BU Marketing & Communications, and Devin Hahn, producer and senior editor at BU Productions. The panelists discussed how video can help bring science, proposals, and research to life.
How to Connect with Policymakers and Funding Agencies
Effective communication with members of Congress and federal funding agencies is critical. Jennifer Grodsky, BU’s vice president for Federal Relations, and consultants from Lewis-Burke Associates provided insights about how to connect with key policymakers, draft testimony, seek federal funding, and engage with stakeholders in local and national government.
Using Twitter and LinkedIn Effectively to Promote Your Research
How can academics make the most of Twitter and LinkedIn to promote their expertise and research? Join Kevin Anselmo, the founder of Experiential Communications, for a remote, interactive workshop to learn how to share your key messages on Twitter and LinkedIn so they resonate with the public and help achieve your communications objectives.
How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Expertise and Engage Target Audiences
Dr. Matthew Partridge—a biochemist who has spent 16 years working in both industrial and academic research, and a decade tweeting and posting about it on social media—led a remote workshop to help you achieve your goals for thought leadership and visibility.
Pulling from his experience at both Real Scientists and ErrantScience, Dr. Partridge shared helpful tips and tactics for faculty members at every level of comfort on social media. This workshop covered the value and impact of different social media platforms, how to effectively communicate your work, how to engage with target audiences, how to develop and refine your strategy, and how to measure success.
How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Work & Expertise
Whether you are looking to increase your following or build visibility for your department, center or initiative, this discussion will guide you through the do’s and don’ts of using social media, how to set goals and measure success, and how to take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
Panelists included Karen Weintraub, acclaimed science writer and social communicator; Adam Conner-Simons, communications and media relations officer at MIT CSAIL; Steve Ramirez, assistant professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University; Eric DelGizzo, media engagement associate, Office of the Dean at Boston University School of Public Health, and Molly Gluck, digital communications and public relations associate at Boston University.
New Frontiers in Social Media: Reddit AMA and Facebook Live
How can social media—specifically Reddit AMAs and Facebook Live—promote academic research, engage audiences, and elevate the faculty’s public profile? Paul Duprex, professor of microbiology at MED; Tammy Vigil, assistant professor of communication at COM; and Joshua Safer, associate professor of medicine at MED, joined Reddit moderator Liz Crocker to share how they used Reddit AMAs and Facebook Live to engage the public. Learn why they ventured into social media, how they leveraged different platforms, and what value they derived from the experience. Gain an understanding of the evolving social media landscape to evaluate opportunities strategically and participate with confidence.