- Know your story – Put your research in perspective. How do your findings advance or start a trend, impact the status quo, or shake up or fit into the big picture, for instance?
- “Mom-ify” your data – If you can’t explain your findings to your Mom, the mainstream media won’t get it either. Be able to talk about your research in a way that makes sense to a lay audience.
- Embrace access and availability – News doesn’t wait in a 24/7 news cycle. If a reporter can’t reach you, they will move on. Make sure you respond promptly to any media requests. If contacted by ACG staff, make sure you provide the cell phone number and email address that you will have access to and be able to check during the Annual Meeting.
- Get photo ready – You must have a high-quality headshot available (300 dpi or higher for print, and 72 dpi for web). Passport photos, grainy candids or vacation selfies just don’t cut it. Keep it professional and make sure you have a headshot ready to send to the media or ACG staff when asked.
- Elevate the pitch – Practice explaining your findings in two minutes or less. Practice. Practice. Practice. If you can explain your findings on video that’s even better.
Jordan J. Karlitz, MD, FACG, Division of Gastroenterology, Tulane University School of Medicine, is the Chair of ACG’s Digital Communications and Publications Committee. He is Past Chair of the ACG Public Relations Committee. His research involving the study of colorectal cancer in the Louisiana Acadian region was published in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology in October 2014, and has subsequently received widespread media coverage, which helped him secure a grant for further study. At ACG 2014, he presented the first population-based, statewide study in the U.S. to quantify Lynch syndrome screening rates by microsatellite instability and immunohistochemistry, and assess the timing of these results in relation to surgery. The results suggested that in young colorectal cancer patients (age 50 and under) who may be at increased risk, screening rates for Lynch syndrome are low, and results are infrequently available prior to colonic resection. Rural location and care at public hospitals are inversely correlated with testing, suggesting disparities in access to specialized services. In 2015, these data were published in the The American Journal of Gastroenterology.