How Japanese academic and research institutions communicate scientific information to the public: The rise of news releases

Author: Ayumi Koso – National Institutes for the Humanities, Japan

Press offices of Western academic and research institutions are relying less on news releases and mainstream media to disseminate scientific information. In contrast, news releases from press offices of leading Japanese research and academic institutions are steadily increasing and sent to press clubs, a closed media outlet membership system, serving as a gateway for media access to scientific information. This study seeks to quantify this trend and explore the role that press officers and press offices play in the process of communicating research to the media through news releases.

A survey about the use of news releases as a way to disseminate research was sent out to 350 press offices of Japanese research institutions, public universities, and private universities to examine the popularity, and the production and dissemination process of news releases in Japanese research and academic institutions.

Analysis of the data suggests that in the academic year 2016, more than half of Japanese research and academic institution press offices informed the media about their research stories via news releases. In addition, news release drafts are often written by researchers, and press offices tend to send news releases to their local press clubs rather than to individual reporters or media outlets. The results will be discussed in relation to the absence of trained or specialized press officers in press offices of Japanese research and academic institutions, and press clubs.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual talk
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Comparing science communication across cultures