Media services for staff

RMIT is full of great stories - from research discoveries to student achievements, alumni success and industry collaborations.

The Communications team in the Engagement and Vocational Education portfolio shares these stories through a broad range of channels, helping raise the profile of our academics and strengthen RMIT's reputation around the world.

Do you have a story?

If you are an RMIT University staff member with a story you believe is newsworthy, the Communications team would like to hear from you.

You may be working on an exciting research collaboration, engaging with industry on a project, receiving an award, presenting a paper at a major conference or travelling overseas on an interesting project.

Tell us about your story by emailing the details to news@rmit.edu.au or by filling out the online form.

If we agree that your story is newsworthy, it may be published on RMIT News or promoted via traditional and social media.

Do you have a research paper about to be published?

The Communications team at RMIT is always keen to promote high-level research stories.

Promoting research through the media not only helps to lift our researchers' profiles and recognises their hard work, but it also has the potential to open real opportunities for funding and collaboration.

Below are the key steps you can take to better promote your research to the media and wider community:

For best media impact, research stories should be timed around a journal publication. But the team needs to know in advance about upcoming publications. Once a paper is published (online or in print), media can consider it "old news", which affects promotion efforts.

  • Include the paper and 2-3 dot points explaining the importance/impact in layman's terms

As resources are limited, the team focuses on stories that have the most potential for media impact and are aligned with RMIT's strategic research focus. If the paper has media potential, they will work with you to draft a media release and news story.

Are you an expert?

The Communications team assists with media-related queries and maintains the RMIT Experts Guide, a listing of the University's academics who can be contacted by media for comment on matters related to their expertise.

If you are an RMIT expert, sign up and join the guide.

Advice for working with the media

Staff in the Communications team generate significant positive publicity for the University by working closely with academics and students.

Following are some tips to help you get effective media coverage for your research, event or achievement:

Media releases

A media release is one of the best ways to spark the media's interest in your story.

Staff in the Communications team issue media releases regularly. Best practice media releases are as short and concise as possible, fitting on one page.

If you are providing information for a media release, think about making the information relevant to the audience of the media outlets you are targeting. Consider the following questions:

  • What is the story?
  • Why is your story interesting/relevant to the target audience?
  • What are the angles that would be most interesting to the audience?
  • What are the 3-4 key messages you want to communicate in this media release?
  • Have you answered the basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
  • Is the information easy to read (not written in complex or biased language or with too much information)?
  • Who is the best spokesperson for your story? Is the spokesperson readily available for interview, knowledgeable and articulate?
  • Have you provided contact details for the spokesperson?

Images

Pictures often have more impact than words in telling a story and it pays to have quality images accompanying your media release, particularly for research and student achievement stories.

Remember to include captions for all pictures, and ensure you have copyright permission to supply them for media use.

What to do when the media calls

Following are tips for what to do when the media calls:

  • Relax. Breathe.
  • Organise a time to meet/discuss on the phone that is convenient for both you and the journalist.
  • Speak to the journalist on the phone before they arrive to ensure you know what they want (Is it just an interview with the journalist or will the journalist also send a photographer?) so you can have the information ready for them when they arrive.
  • Reconfirm what message(s) you want to get across and ensure you have the information you will need in order to deliver it.
  • Make sure you and whatever it is you are trying to promote looks at its best. This is particularly crucial when television film crews or photographers are coming. Brief your staff accordingly.
  • Listen carefully to the journalist's questions and make sure your answers are to the point.
  • If you don't know the answer to a question, don't make it up or guess. Explain to the journalist that you will have to call them back later with that detail as you don't currently have it, or that the question is out of your area of expertise and you are unable to comment.
  • Assume any time you speak to a journalist that the interview is "on the record" and frame your comments accordingly.

What to do when a journalist gets it wrong

Journalists, like all of us, don't always get it right, but unlike most of us, their mistakes are far more public, which does cause a problem if the mistake is about you or your research, work or event.

Obviously prevention is better than cure, so ensure that all the information you provide journalists is correct and make sure, as far as you can, that journalists understand it.

If a journalist does get an important fact wrong, call and politely point out the error and ask if it can be corrected in the next issue. If they refuse, you can always try writing a letter to the editor (if it is a newspaper or magazine) setting the record straight.

However never create a monster out of the situation. If the incorrect fact does not compromise your activity and in return you received excellent coverage, then it is best to put it into perspective.

If you have any queries relating to how you to work better with the media, contact staff in the RMIT Communications team.

Issues communication

Staff in the Communications team provide assistance in planning and dealing with media and stakeholder communication during critical events.

For urgent after-hours matters involving media, contact the RMIT Communications team.

If contacted directly by media on an issue or during an emergency/ crisis, staff should make no comments but simply advise the journalist to contact the RMIT Communications team.

Media monitoring

Summaries of RMIT media coverage are emailed to marketing and communications staff around the University daily.

To be added to the list and receive the Daily Media Highlights, email news@rmit.edu.au

Academics who are quoted or mentioned in media coverage are copied into the Daily Media Highlights email, as relevant.