1st Edition

Pitch Perfect Communicating with Traditional and Social Media for Scholars, Researchers, and Academic Leaders

By William Tyson Copyright 2010

    This book is intended for scholars, researchers, and academic leaders who have a passion to share their knowledge outside their classroom, laboratory, or institution; who want to make a difference; and who believe that the information they possess and ideas they offer are important for a wider public. Pitch Perfect is a practical guide to communicating your knowledge and research to broader audiences. How do you get yourself heard amid the volume of news and information in today’s 24-hour news cycle, and get your message across in an environment where blogs and Twitter vie with traditional media? To break through, you need to amplify your ideas and make them relevant for a wider public audience.Bill Tyson – who has been successfully advising scholars and academic leaders on media relations for over 30 years – shows you how to undertake early and thoughtful communications planning, understand the needs and workings of the media, both traditional and digital, and tell your story in a way that will capture your audience. Bill Tyson is strategic in his advice, no less so when discussing how to engage with such social media as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts or wikis.Whether you are working on research or a new initiative that has public implications, or have a story that deserves wide telling; whether you want to address funders’ requests for communications plans to promote the programs they are supporting, or whether you want to know how to publicize your new book; this practical guide offers insider advice – complete with case studies – on how to communicate your message. An appendix lists key media in North America, Australia, and the UK.

    Acknowledgements Foreword 1. Telling Your Story. Is It a Good Report If It’s Not Read? 2. How Media Works 3. Getting Started. Keeping on Top of the News 4. Developing a Media Strategy. Prioritizing the Media 5. Presenting Your Story in Writing 6. Calling the Media 7. Media Sessions 8. Resources for Contacting Media 9. Presenting New Research Findings 10. When a Reporter Calls 11. The Media Interview 12. Radio and Television Interviews 13. Opinion Articles 14. Letters to the Editor 15. Speeches 16. Book Promotion 17. Web 2.0 and Beyond Conclusion Appendix A. Selected Major Television and Radio Programs That Use Guest Interviews Appendix B. Canadian Media Appendix C. British Media Index


    William Tyson is owner of Morrison & Tyson Communications (MTC), a national media relations firm that serves colleges, universities, policy institutes, and foundations. Much of the company’s work focuses on advancing new research and issues of higher education cost, quality, access, and student success. National media also call upon MTC for its expert sources as they develop their stories and report the news. As a leading consultant in communications strategy development and media relations for nearly 30 years, Tyson has worked with the National Survey of Student Engagement; Community College Survey of Student Engagement; National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in the release of their 50-state report card on higher education, Measuring Up; Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program; Pew Charitable Trusts Early Education project; Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania; and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In addition, he has provided national media consulting to well over a hundred colleges and universities. Tyson is a founding board member of the National Survey of Student Engagement and also served on the board of the American Association for Higher Education and as an advisory member to the Institute of Higher Education Policy’s Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students. Morrison & Tyson Web site: www.morrisonandtyson.com Robert Zemsky

    This is a great read for those who may have a future in academia and just for anyone else that may wonder what the next step is in getting a story pitched

    Madeline L. Moore


    "William Tyson has written the practical guide to communicating knowledge with broad audiences. This how-to-guide of handling the media for academia is a unique book that should be used as a reference for researchers, faculty and scholars."

    Under the Crown of Agriculture

    "In Pitch Perfect, author William Tyson provides a practical how-to guide for academics wanting to engage with traditional and new media. The book reads like a primer on the field of journalism with applications for academia....The content of this book would be a good selection for academics who have valuable and newsworthy expertise or initiatives and are seeking to make these advances."

    NACADA Journal (National Academic Advising Association)

    "REVIEWER'S CHOICE Pitch Perfect is a 'must' for any collection strong in media communication, business and public relations. It covers the basics of how to attract media attention, offering examples and anecdotes from different academic disciplines to show how to explain research to a larger audience than fellow academics. It considers common issues and offers a fine survey for scholars unused to handling the media, and is a 'must' for any education or college-level holding."

    Midwest Book Review

    "Interesting Read"

    The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

    "A primer on communicating knowledge and ideas to broader audiences via print, broadcast, and online media."

    The Chronicle of Higher Education

    “This new book from William Tyson discusses the many ways to share information to a wider public through mediums such as blogs and Twitter. Through case studies, the book will guide you through the essentials of communicating with your audience.”

    NILOA (National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment) Newsletter

    “I have benefited from Bill Tyson’s counsel for more than twenty years. Pitch Perfect is his much-needed primer telling faculty readers what they need to know if they want to make what they know, and have discovered, important to other people. Here is a volume truly chock full of practical advice offered in a context that helps make the mysterious rational.”

    Robert Zemsky, Education Professor and Chairman

    The Learning Alliance for Higher Education, University of Pennsylvania

    “In a time of growing scientific, technological and ethical complexity in all aspects of our lives, the need for researchers and the academic community to reach out to the public has never been more important. Pitch Perfect provides easy access for the interested, but hesitant academic to get involved in some of the most important national and international conversations of our time. Bill Tyson has provided the tools for getting important information off the sidelines and into the national dialogue without compromising objectivity and scholarship.”

    Thomas S. Litwin, Ph.D. Director, Clark Science Center, Smith College

    "Reading this book is like sitting down to a long, pleasurable conversation with your own private media consultant. Chapter by chapter, you learn everything from the deceptively simple task of how to frame clear and compelling media messages to preparing for a media interview. Bill Tyson's eminently readable and useful book is a must-read for those scholars, researchers, and academic leaders who recognize that strategic communications planning is not an option, but rather a critical aspect of their ongoing work.”

    Joan Dassin, Executive Director, Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program

    “As an academic publisher, I work with hundreds of scholars, encouraging them to communicate their research to the widest audience possible. Each of our authors stands to benefit greatly from Bill Tyson's book, which explains to scholars how they can best share their findings without dumbing down their message. With clear examples and telling anecdotes from across the academic disciplines, Tyson gives faculty a map for transcending their circle of peers and spreading the key points of their research to a larger public.”

    Marlie Wasserman, Director

    Rutgers University Press

    "This is a remarkable work, a how-to guide to effective media relations by a pro who has seen it all and done it all. It is a brisk, entertaining tour of a largely misunderstood world and a practical and pragmatic primer on how to flourish in it. Now, instead of talking to people about the precepts of media relations, I will simply hand them this book. It is so valuable I plan on buying many copies."

    Don Hale

    Vice President for Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

    "The book is terrific. It's a very clear, very concrete guide to virtually every aspect of dealing with the news media, right down to blogs and Twitter. But what struck me as most unusual – and potentially most valuable – is its pitch-perfect and lucid presentation of how journalists look at stories and sources, and the whole process. It is failure to understand that part of the equation that most often derails potentially effective efforts at communication between the academy and the media. With this book as a guide, that doesn't have to happen. Wonderful job."

    Richard Cooper

    former Deputy Bureau Chief and News Editor of the Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau

    "Do you want media attention? then read Bill Tyson's Pitch Perfect. Better than anything else I've read, Tyson teaches strategies for presenting ourself effectively to both old and new media. He shows you how and he helps you understand why."

    Douglas Bennett, President

    Earlham College