Saturday, September 19, 2009

Universities form nonprofit wire service

Stanford and UC-Berkeley are among the 35 universities that have joined to form a wire service to feed their own accounts of their discoveries directly to top news sites on the Internet.

The new servict, Futurity, will provide articles to Yahoo News, Google News, MySpace and Twitter.

"We've been really concerned. Our preference would be to have the level of coverage of science and research that we enjoyed for decades," Lisa Lapin, assistant vice president for university communications at Stanford, told the Mercury News. "But the major news organizations haven't had the resources to provide that independent, objective look at what we are doing. It's been declining."

The Merc story quotes Charlie Petit, a former science reporter at U.S. News & World Report and the Chron, as saying the university-written content should be clearly labeled so the public is aware of the difference between it and stories written by independent journalists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here’s a thought about why the major as well as local news organizations, especially broadcast media doesn’t cover science and research stories that come out of universities!
Have you seen a recent press release from any university?
It’s typed in size four font and it usually consists of at least two pages.
The writers who put out these releases generally re-type what the discovery, finding or scientific breakthrough is in scientific terms. It’s as if they were taking dictation from the lead researcher and there is your release.
Most of the time one has to re-read the release at least two times to find the meat of the matter.
It would help these universities if they took a page out of the old tried but true formula used by PR, and other agencies where they try to get our attention in the first or second sentence of a press release that lets us know why this is important.
When we’re bombarded by an average of three to four hundred emails a day, those of us in the media have just so much time we can dedicate to reading these releases, and if you don’t catch our attention within ten seconds of reading the release, delete!
I wish these schools of higher learning the best of luck in their new endeavor, but if all they’re going to do is upload those same releases, they’ll have another enemy to contend with! The mouse, and no I don’t mean the one running around in the lab cage!