Project 5-100 university communication specialists train in the USAJune 4, 2015
In May 2015, a group of employees of the communication departments of Project 5-100 universities traveled to the USA for their first foreign training experience.
During the training program these Russian specialists were introduced to the practices and methods of the communication departments of such universities as George Washington University, George Mason University and American University, got acquainted with the editors of “Science” and “Chronicle of Higher Education”, and even shook hands with the leading members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
The American PR specialists noted the key image projects of their universities and shared their experience of communication with the alumni and employer communities. They further discussed the problems of international university promotion, the work of student media, the structure of communications departments in American schools, and then proceeded to touch upon possible cooperation formats with leading Russian universities.
The representatives of the AAAS delivered a presentation of the main projects of this international association – the agency of scientific information “EurekAlert!” and “Science” magazine – one of the most influential publications in the world. The website of “EurekAlert!” is designed for the publication of press releases featuring scientific news. If the agency believes a certain piece of news to be important, it disseminates it to other journalists and bloggers writing about science. A university’s reputation plays a significant role in the process of selection of newsworthy press releases. It is also important whether or not the university has the status of a research university and whether the university is cooperating with the AAAS. According to the American specialists, at this stage, Russian universities are barely represented in the flow of scientific news which reach the public via the AAAS channels. Our American colleagues organized a master class to explain how to write a press release which would interest international journalists and shared a Press Officers' Guide which is helpful for everyone working with the AAAS to help their communications stand out among the large number of competing news pieces from all over the world.
Benefiting hugely from the presentation made by the publisher and editor of “Science” magazine, the participants in the workshop learned how the article selection mechanism works: after a peer review, only 6% of the materials are selected for publication from over 17,000 applications. Nevertheless, more news is published on the website than in the magazine, so communications specialists should work with both the paper and the electronic resources. Representatives of the editorial board emphasized the importance of having highly-qualified specialists in university communications departments. Summing up, the representatives of the editorial board encouraged Russian universities to be more proactive in the information environment.