[ASC-list] 'World-Class Discussion' -- Re: ASC-list Digest, Vol 67, Issue 5

William Rifkin willrifkin at unsw.edu.au
Fri Jun 4 02:39:32 UTC 2010

I will have to side with everyone on this one* -- a 'world class' discussion, if I ever saw one. (*What else would you expect from a middle child?)

It sounds like every media release is written to pass through multiple filters -- gatekeepers inside the institution, in the media, and in the reading audience.  

Compounding the challenge of this process, any one phrase will have different meanings to the gatekeepers at each stage, and different meanings to different gatekeepers at any one stage.    

What I am hearing is insight into how those 'filters' are set and how terms like 'cutting edge', 'breakthrough', and 'world class' can be interpreted.  To some, they can be triggers to notice a story.  To others, they can look like tired cliche's.  

The most effective strategy in relation to such statements may be the time-honoured answer to many communication questions -- 'It depends.'  

That is where Derek's suggestion about studying audience responses may be worthwhile.  And, indeed, that seems to be what effective people in PR do on an ongoing basis -- assessing what their gatekeepers will and will not accept.  

Sorry, were you expecting some 'cutting edge' insight?  A 'breakthrough' perhaps?  


William D Rifkin, PhD
Director, Science Communication Program
Faculty of Science, BSB-BABS

willrifkin at unsw.edu.au
+61 2 9385 2748  
+61 2 9385 1530 fax  


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