With the advent of the digital age, news coverage increasingly takes place on television and social media.
Binghamton University’s Office of Media and Public Relations (MPR) hosted a media training workshop on Tuesday for faculty and staff to learn how to become better prepared for working with media, both on and off camera.
BU’s MPR office frequently cooperates with media outlets that range from local to national levels such as the Press and Sun-Bulletin, Fox 40 News, NewsChannel 34 and USA Today. Ryan Yarosh, the University’s director of media and public relations, said he regularly invites and works with media coverage. According to Yarosh, he advocated for and planned the training workshop because he believes members of the University community should have an opportunity to feel better equipped to conduct a successful interview.
“We truly rely on our students, faculty and staff to help tell Binghamton’s story, and it’s crucial that they are confident and comfortable in dealing with media,” Yarosh said. “We thought that the workshop would be a good chance to sit down with a larger group and to run them through the ins and outs of working with media.”
Attendees of the workshop discussed ways to develop concise and compelling messages to send interviewers.
“We have more stories to tell than ever about the great things happening here on campus,” Yarosh said. “But at the same time we want to make sure that the faculty and staff that we’re putting in front of those cameras feel comfortable and also feel that their message is going to get across.”
The workshop also aimed to provide information about the local media markets — namely television, radio and newspaper outlets — to give participants perspective on both sides of an interview. Additionally, attendees learned about the most effective ways to respond to a reporter’s calls and questions.
Kevin Boettcher, a research development specialist for Harpur College, said faculty who work with a foundation for their research funding could benefit from knowing how to communicate with the public regarding the intricacies of their projects.
“It’s increasingly important that faculty know how to reach broader audiences with their work, and both local and national media are the best channels for doing so,” Boettcher wrote in an email. “It reminds voters and politicians why they should keep supporting research. Personally, I want to be able to give faculty advice on how to do that, and how to do it well.”
Through the workshop, participants were also able to examine how reporters approach an interview and how to engage with them. Yarosh said he encouraged attendees to treat an interview like a conversation.
“Being on camera and conducting interviews can be intimidating for some, so our goal was to help put them at ease,” Yarosh said.
The MPR office holds a variety of workshops for students, faculty and staff throughout the year, and offers one-on-one meetings to discuss the best methods of promoting research and events.
“I would definitely support more workshops like these, not in the least because, as a public university, I think all of our employees and students need to be vocal advocates for the outstanding work we do here,” Boettcher wrote.
Rich Mattson, an associate professor of psychology at BU who attended the workshop, wrote in an email that the event was successful in teaching participants how to interact with the media.
“I thought the event was an excellent overview on how to interact with the media, particularly on how to construct messages for mass consumption,” Mattson wrote. “I think the workshop was a definite success and think that additional workshops that explore specific topics more in depth would [certainly] prove helpful.”