I have created a straightforward five-step procedure with the mnemonic "START," inspired by the numerous talks I had with STEM professionals throughout information-sharing seminars I had already led over the years. It is directed towards anyone in a STEM body, or perhaps any organization, who wants to diversify their public representation.
Support. Speaking in public about your job should be respected and seen as important at all organizational levels. Assist anyone who might be feeling scared by the idea of communicating with the media by listening to their worries. Invite a coworker with less expertise to follow you in an interview or studio if you are an experienced media contributor. Online trolling can be frightening, so take the initiative to inform publications when remarks made on articles or feeds from social media are inappropriate. The framework you set is the one you walk past. Keep it elegant.
Train. Few individuals possess the innate capacity to distill their intricate, nuanced research findings into a concise, seven-second talking point. However, proper media training may provide researchers with the knowledge and abilities needed to interact with the media. This involves understanding how the media operates and realizing that deadlines in a newspaper are typically far shorter than those in a research lab.
Advocate. A few high-flyers in each study field are frequently approached for media appearances or public speaking engagements. But how do we find new talent if we keep tapping the same shoulders? One method for those who already have a profile is to utilize it to help others rise to the same level. Rather than going, recommend a less experienced employee, ideally from an underrepresented group, and then provide your guidance while they go through the talk or interview.
Reinforce. The "actual job" of teaching, research, and grant applications may be delayed by media and public outreach. But the organization gains from the following coverage. Therefore, organizations should view public participation as an essential activity rather than a diversion, and they should take it into account when evaluating employee work outcomes and career advancement.
Track. Organizations should keep an eye on how they are portrayed in the media to identify their "public faces." They need to find out how diversified these faces are and where resources may be used most effectively to enhance the image.
It is not necessary to START at the beginning, contrary to Maria Von Trapp's instruction. Perhaps monitoring or reinforcing is a good place to start for your company. If you're a researcher with a high media presence, you may start by brainstorming some coworkers for who you could campaign. Regardless of where we start, equity in all of its manifestations requires everybody to start somewhere.
This article comes from Jo Adentunj, an editor at The Conversation UK.