Making news

Have you ever wondered how the Public Relations team at BioMed Central publicizes the best and most newsworthy research?  

On the right occasions, the BMC team will work to promote a newsworthy research article published in Retrovirology to a general audience via the media.  An example of a Retrovirology article that was promoted is Paul Laybourn’s recent paper on ‘Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Protein Tax Reduces Histone Levels’. For an article to be considered ‘newsworthy’, the research must be pioneering, interesting/quirky and scientifically sound.

The actual logistics is that the PR team and a freelance science writer screen all research articles to be published and select manuscripts that are potentially newsworthy. These suggestions are compiled into a shortlist and pitched to senior biology and medical editors in a weekly meeting. The team discusses the merits of each shortlisted article and what sort of audience it should be aimed at. When Laybourn et al., was pitched it was agreed that due to the more technical content of this particular piece of research, it should be aimed at a scientific audience. The angle for this story was to be that this is the first example of a reduction of histone levels correlating with viral infection and cancer development.

The release for this article was drafted after the article was pre-accepted and sent off to the author and Editor-in-Chief for review and approval. This was then pitched to number of media contacts with a special interest in the subject areas four days ahead of publication.

The PR team embargoes the majority of articles in order to allow the media enough time to obtain all the relevant information of the research. It is imperative that the contact author is available by phone or email during the embargo period so that journalists can correspond with them if necessary. The embargo lifts on the day of publication and the news of the research is quickly disseminated. Examples here

A BMC press release can reach news services such as Reuters, Associated Press and United Press International. The information can go global and be picked up by national newspapers such as The Washington Post, LA Times, NY Times, Forbes, The Times, The Telegraph, and Financial Times, and broadcasters such as CNN, BBC, Sky and Fox.  Press release services such as EurekAlert and AlphaGalileo are also used, and they can help reach 2500+ journalists.

So now you know how the BMC team is working to bring visibility to your best papers.

Charlotte Webber

Public Relations Assistant

BioMed Central

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