Monday, March 31, 2014

Research at Grady?

In my usual journalistic curiosity, I was going through the UGA press releases and decided to break them down by college. What does UGA send out in terms of research productivity?

To do this, I went here and on the right column clicked on various colleges and worked my way back, seeing which releases appeared to be about research. I basically went back about three pages for each college, to about the beginning of the Fall 2013 semester. Below, here are how many releases were about research, as in studies releases or published (not speakers, etc.):
  • Grady -- 1
  • Terry College of Business -- 5
  • Education -- 1
  • Family and Consumer Sciences -- 4
  • Ecology -- 9
and so on. I'm gonna stop here. What's this mean? Keep in mind the above is the first two or three pages of the most recent announcements, so it isn't affected by a college or school merely pumping out more stuff. In about three pages, regardless of school, you hit the beginning of Fall.

I admit this is hardly a systematic analysis, but it suggest here at Grady, where we do a lot of research, it's not getting much attention. Or at least UGA doesn't see it as sexy enough to earn press attention. The folks at the PR mothership are no doubt right, and research shouldn't be based on what will get you time on CNN or in the The New York Times, though let's face it, that never hurts.

All in all, I'm not sure what it means, other than some schools perhaps push out the research more, promote it more, or research the kinds of things that UGA feels it's better able to push onto the public and the press. Not laying blame here, other than perhaps we at Grady need to do a better job at doing quality research that does, to some degree, resonate with the public. Or at least with the flacks up the hill.

(yes, I said flack, and I'm happily a hack)


Coro said...

This is a really interesting topic, Dr. Hollander. As far as something that would resonate with the public, hows about a deeper dive to get to the bottom of why certain schools are getting more publicity?

On a surface level, it seems to me that ADPR and other comms research pieces should resonate with the public as much, if not more so than those from any other college, just because of the general public's exposure to the field (as opposed to something like ecology).

Perhaps money (potential donations/grants, specifically), is behind this trend? Just a thought without anything to back it up, but it seems to play a role in everything else.


ABJ '11, Advertising

Hollander said...

On the advertising front, a couple of faculty just published a piece on humor and threats in advertising that seems, to me, a bit sexy once you get beyond the usual academese. For example, the abstract ends with:

"...the results indicated that the effectiveness of various threat intensity and humor combinations depended on the individual's issue involvement. Implications for both theory and practice are discussed."

That's written for an academic journal, but in English it sounds as if humor combined with threat can effect different people in different ways in advertising. That's kinda interesting.

Andrea G said...

As someone who works in the College of Ag's communication shop, the person you need to talk to is Grady's PR person. It's my understanding that this Grady PR person left/is new, so I wouldn't expect the content listed under Grady to be up to par. It's the PR people of each college that write the news releases that get pushed to UGA Public Affairs/UGA news. Also, I'd say UGA news is mostly "PR news," meaning it doesn't matter what people find interesting, it's what the admins of that college think you should know about or what the PR person is tuned into. Also I've seen that many PR people stick to writing the stories they like writing, and writing about research usually isn't one of them.

I know for our college we try to keep a balance, but it's always a challenge to make sure we're covering all of our bases (teaching, research, and UGA Extension) equally. What makes writing about research tough is the stories aren't as easy to find. Not because they aren't "newsworthy" but because they happen behind the scenes. I know when we hired a new PR coordinator it took awhile for faculty to figure out who to talk to when they thought something was newsworthy. I think there are a lot of factors at play here.