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Press and media activities at the Faculty of Medicine

At the University, we have both a desire and a legal obligation to inform others about our activities and engage in wider society. At the Faculty of Medicine, we are continuously working to disseminate information about research, events and activities that may be of interest to the public and professionals, nationally and internationally. The faculty’s communications office and departmental communications officers provide support to both our staff and journalists in this work.

Interactions with the media take place through e.g. press releases, press invitations, news tips in conjunction with publications on our website and on social media. We also often receive inquiries from journalists seeking the expertise of our medical and health science researchers, for example, for a comment on their and others’ research findings.

Contact a departmental communications officer/the faculty press service

Our communications officers and press service can help you with:

  • advice on processes and premises for media contact
  • suggestions on how to plan your media strategy – content, timing of publication, target audience, national and/or international dissemination, etc.
  • follow-up on media coverage
  • contact with the press service within the Skåne University Hospital and other faculties of medicine/collaboration partners in Sweden or abroad.

Contact us well in advance, to enable us to help you the best way we can.

Press work and media relations are based on:

  • credibility and transparency
  • trust between the media, the communications office and employees at Lund University’s Faculty of Medicine
  • the principle that all questions from the press and media must be answered. Your response may be that you are unable (not your area of expertise) or do not have time to answer their questions, but please refer them to someone else or ask if you can get back to them later. NB! Journalists often work under a short deadline; therefore, it is important that you get back to them at the agreed time.

Note! The communications office and communications officers are here to support you, but all employees have the right to communicate with journalists – the right to whistle-blow – without contacting the communications office. The right to whistle-blow means that everyone has the right to contact the media and provide information. Everyone is also guaranteed anonymity, which means that the recipient of a piece of information shall not disclose the source if the person providing the information wishes to remain anonymous.



When should you contact the press service/a communications officer?

  • If your scientific study has been approved by a peer-reviewed research journal, and you believe it will be of interest to one or more target audiences – public, trade/industry, patient organisations, etc.
  • If you have published the date for your thesis defence, and you believe it will be of interest to the public, trade journals and/or patient organisations, etc.
  • If you have participated in media contexts, for example, through opinion pieces or as an expert within the scope of your employment at LU, and there is reason to believe that there will be follow-up inquiries from the media.
  • If you are in charge of a major science or popular science event within the Faculty of Medicine, and you would like to inform the press and media.
  • If you are unsure about how to inform others of collaborations between Lund University and external stakeholders.
  • If you need support before contacting the media.

Press releases concerning scientific work

Scientific work warrants a press releases and/or news tips if:

  • the corresponding author works at Lund University or if the work is clearly linked to Lund University
  • the scientific work has
      - news value to the general public, and is relevant outside the research community
      - news value/added value to the trade and industry press
  • it is a thesis project that has
      - news value to the general public, and is relevant outside the research community
      - news value/added value to the trade and industry press
  • it is a new clinical study that provides relevant information
  • there is information about conferences and symposia organised within the context of LU and which may have news value

And if the work falls within any of the following categories:

  • New (to the target group)
  • Unusual or unexpected
  • Close – recognisable, local
  • Affects many people
  • Improves/confirms (e.g. a new method, new treatment, new/additional research findings)
  • Important to society
  • New angle on a current debate

What we need from you

What do we need from you as a researcher before informing the media about your work?

  • A popular science summary of your research findings, max one A4 page. Must be understandable to a non-expert, and focused on what the findings mean.
  • Brief facts about the type of study: clinical, preclinical, register study, etc.
  • Information about who financed the study, links to and cooperation with external partners/networks which is relevant to include in the communication.
  • The name of the journal, as well as of the research article/text and publication reference data.
  • The date of publication and/or contact information to the journal’s press office or equivalent.
  • Contact information to the spokespersons (including mobile phone), titles, departments.
  • Preferably a picture of each spokesperson, high resolution (300 dpi), which does not require authorisation to be used as a press image. Name of the photographer. If a picture is not available, notify us.

Note: Good images, illustrations and film that exemplify research findings, methods etc. reinforce and help improve the communication of research findings.


Work procedure for the press service/communications officers

Press activity at the Faculty of Medicine is coordinated and disseminated via the press service at the faculty’s communications office.

Preparation

Press releases and news items are disseminated nationally and/or internationally, mainly with a stated publication date or directly in connection with the online publication of a research article online. Good forward planning enables us to help you in the best way we can. Be aware that it may take two weeks to produce a press release.

The communications officer/research journalist at your department/faculty will help you write the press release, as well as provide other support in this process.

We evaluate the newsworthiness and propose a plan for dissemination locally, regionally, nationally and/or internationally, to industry, colleagues, patient organisations, decision-makers, funding bodies, and others.

Publication and dissemination

Press releases are sent out via the news portal Cision, through direct mail and/or LU’s press subscription. Press releases are published on one or more of the following sites: LU news web, faculty news web, our popular science research site Vetenskap & hälsa, Expertsvar. Adapted news items are also posted on social media.

Most press releases are translated into English, and disseminated by LU’s international press officer via Eurek Alert, Alpha Galileo and Cision. They are also published on LU’s and the faculty’s English websites.

Follow-up

We follow up on the press work and report back to the researcher as much as possible.

Additional support

Departmental communications officers and the faculty’s communications office can offer additional support and advice regarding:

  • press conferences, press meetings, invitations to the press
  • journalist seminars
  • opinion pieces
  • social media
  • media training

Contact with the media

Prepare what you want to say and how to say it:

  • What is your main message in the particular context?
  • Express yourself in the most simple and comprehensible way possible. Each area of expertise has its own terminology – technical terms – which is used and understood by the people in that field. Technical terms can often be replaced by more simple language; if not, provide an explanation of the term the first time it is used.

Things to consider/make a note of when you are contacted by a journalist:

  • The journalist’s name
  • What is it about, and how are you expected to contribute?
  • Are you are the right person to answer their questions, or should you refer them to a colleague?
  • In what context will the article/news item be published/aired?
  • How long will the interview last?
  • If it involves radio or television, will it be taped or aired live?
  • Will more people be interviewed in this context?
  • Will you have the chance to read the article before it is published? If not, ask to be allowed to read your quotes. Offer to read through the article, primarily your quotes, to make sure they are not vague, have been misunderstood or contain incorrect information. Decide on these matters in advance.

Everyone involved wants the article/interview/news item to be good and correct, but the work/article belongs to the journalist, and you are not automatically entitled to read the article before it is published. If possible, provide the journalist with supplementary written information: facts, a brief and simple description of the subject you have spoken about, illustrations, etc. This increases the chance that the article or news segment will be correct. And remember – if you don’t know/are unable to respond straight away, ask if you can get back to them within an agreed time, or refer them to a colleague. Journalists usually work under a strict deadline – make sure you get back to them as promised.


Press releases

Press releases summarise news in a brief and general way, answering questions of who, what, when, how, where and why.

  • Who is our target audience? We try to adapt the language to the readers and avoid difficult words/technical terms. If technical terms are used, we provide an explanation.
  • The heading leads the way – concrete, generating interest.
  • The introduction determines whether or not the reader will continue to read, and often answers several of the questions of who, what, where, when, how and why.
  • The text – what’s most important comes first
     - The results – what happened, how (method, type of study)?
     - What does it mean – the benefit?
     - What are our hopes, goals, potential?
     - Background/problems, implications
     - Clearly distinguish between statistical relationships and causal links

We recommend you to integrate your findings with other research in the field. Be careful about using big words like “unique”, “world-leading” and “breakthrough”. Finally, be respectful of patients and healthcare providers by not contributing to creating inflated expectations or worry.

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