Jennifer Rosinski and Ellen Moran on pitching to the media: Getting the press to tell a story about your evaluation work

We’re Jennifer Rosinski, Senior Media Marketing Manager at UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division and Ellen Moran, a contributing writer. Promoting your research, projects, and subject matter knowledge through the media can enhance your professional reputation across and outside of your field. This visibility may increase your chances of winning new grants or clients, or additional dissemination possibilities.

But how do you do it, and do it well? We’re both longtime newspaper journalists who received “pitches” or story suggestions of all kinds, and use that experience to get the word out about our researchers, evaluators, and content matter experts.

If your employer has public relations staff, work with them to get in front of the press. If not, you can do it yourself. Regardless of who does the outreach, you need a strategy. First, decide whether local or national media or trade publications will find the pitch interesting: does the work have a connection to a particular city or region? Would it resonate in all states? Next, figure out if it’s a visual story that’s a good fit for TV, or a complex story that needs the space available in print and online media.

Hot Tips – Investigating Journalists to Target:

  • Research the topic to make sure the reporter/publication you’re targeting has an interest.
  • What, why: Tell the journalist what the story is, why it matters, and your role in it. Keep it to a short paragraph, including links to relevant material, if applicable.
  • Be available for an interview with a reporter. That means keeping your cell phone handy. Turnaround time can be quick, and you can get passed over if you’re not around.

Hot Tips – Media Coverage in Action:

  • WCVB-TV in Boston reported that our Work Without Limits director was inducted into the national Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame after nomination by the employee with autism she mentored.
  • Our health policy associate was interviewed about a report on the reasons more than 200,000 Massachusetts residents have no health insurance. The report was featured in five stories.
  • The heroic acts of our New England Newborn Screening Program staff as they braved post-blizzard conditions to collect babies’ blood samples for screening garnered national news media attention. As a result, a lab technician was named a Massachusetts Unsung Heroine and the Weather Channel aired the story.
  • The New Yorker interviewed our correctional mental health expert for an article about the alleged abuse of mentally ill inmates by guards in Florida prisons.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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