Win the EPIO book with the Seven Deadly Sins

by David Harris on September 15, 2011

Next month I’ll be on a panel at the ScienceWriters2011 conference talking about the Seven Deadly Sins of PIOs. I have my list picked out and I’ll reveal them here after the talk but what are your deadly sins of PIO work? Or can you guess mine from what I’ve written on the blog so far?

How about this…I’ll send a free preview copy of my book to whoever can guess the greatest number of items on my deadly sin list. Maximum seven items on your guess list, thanks! Best to leave your guesses in the comments but you can email me at physicsdavid (at) gmail.

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  • Cc Petersen

    There are WAY more than seven deadly sins, and I’m basing my guesses on things I’ve seen and heard at press conferences and in press releases:

    1.  Reading one’s PPT presentation verbatim bullet by bullet
    2. Writing a press release in the language of a science paper
    3. Not including image links in a press release
    4. Not coaching one’s scientists before an important press conference
    5. Using unexplained jargon in a press release or press presentation
    6. Writing or presenting a press release/presentation without knowing the intended audience (are you speaking to journalists?  the public?  students?)
    7. Using catchy, cute but somewhat awkward titles or analogies in a press release in order to grab attention. If it’s a “stretch” to make an analogy work to explain your topic, then don’t do it.  (cf. NASA indicating that solar storms could affect our sewer systems… it was a stretch).
    8. Posting a story/release that has very little “new” news.  I can usually spot when an institution/scientist has something new and exciting vs. publishing just for the sake of publishing. 
    9. Wandering around the “meat” of the story; sometimes I find the “nut” graph at the bottom of the story, after the writer has explained methodology, constraints, data gathering techniques, problems, and other stuff that is not as important as what the discovery is.
    10. Not providing access to the original paper or the scientists who did the work. (Yes, I’ve seen PR releases do this.
    11. Running overtime on a press conference so that the Q&A period is cut drastically.
    12.  Saving “hot” stories for upcoming conferences. Sometimes this backfires if the conferences already have a LOT of stories to offer, and your story might get backburnered or not get the attention it deserves.

    • http://www.theenlightenedpio.com David Harris

      All good things to keep in mind for PIOs, CC. My list goes a little more broadly than just press releases and press conferences but you cover my items on those topics well!

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