Talking to the Media-Public Communication for Researchers - Carnegie Mellon University

Talking to the Media

Chriss Swaney
Byron Spice
Abby Simmons


Chriss Swaney (bio), Byron Spice (bio), and Abby Simmons (bio)
November 8, 2012

Television, newspaper, radio and podcasts are key channels to explain why your work matters. Sitting down for an interview is a powerful opportunity to advocate for your field, correct misconceptions, and put a personal face to science. Interviewing requires more than just distilling your message into soundbites: you also have to improvise, tell a story that's personal and emotional, and all while under pressure. Anybody who does this well had to train for it. In this workshop with public relations experts, we covered how to get journalists interested in your work, how to prepare for media interviews, and analyze examples of good and bad interviews. This session included a free booklet by Chriss Swaney, the culmination of a decade of material culled from media boot camps.

Seminar Materials

We've compiled a PDFsummary handout about what makes a story newsworthy and what to do before, during, and after an interview. We drew from Chriss Swaney's booklet Meet the Press, from Stony Brook's Center for Communicating Science.

  • PDFSlides on How Media Relations work at CMU, presented by Abby Simmons.
  • PDFSlides on talking to journalists, presented by Byron Spice.
  • We all received copies of Chriss Swaney's booklet Meet the Press. E-mail Chriss if you're interested in getting one too.

Brian Greene on the Colbert Report

We watched a Videoclip of Brain Greene doing an excellent job as an interviewee on the Colbert Report.