News and Newsworthiness

As a university public relations professional, I was interested in Susan Fitzpatrick's Opinion article, "What Makes Science News Newsworthy?"1 I disagree, however, with her conclusion that scientists (and, by implication, PR people) should be more discriminating in which studies they pitch to the media. University PR people are generally very aware of what the media needs and wants in terms of news. More often than not we gently advise faculty that their studies may not be appropriate for

Janice Zazinski
Jan 23, 2000

As a university public relations professional, I was interested in Susan Fitzpatrick's Opinion article, "What Makes Science News Newsworthy?"1 I disagree, however, with her conclusion that scientists (and, by implication, PR people) should be more discriminating in which studies they pitch to the media.

University PR people are generally very aware of what the media needs and wants in terms of news. More often than not we gently advise faculty that their studies may not be appropriate for the general public.

Any PR person would find it hard to believe, as Fitzpatrick implies, that the press publishes science stories because they're there. I for one have never been able to force a reporter to write a story against her will in my entire career. I would, however, suggest that the changing nature of the media business (emphasis on "business") drives most of the editorial decisions today.

Janice Zazinski

Public...

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