RW Jones Agency

Communications Division


CITLS and Communications has partnered with RW Jones Agency to offer a Public Scholars Program for a cohort of faculty during the 2019-2020 academic year. This program offers a unique opportunity for faculty to learn how to communicate scholarly research and expertise to the public to make an impact. Faculty from all disciplines and appointment types are invited to apply and a cohort of roughly 8-10 faculty will be invited to maximize the experience. The program involves approximately 4 to 5 workshops per semester in order for faculty to help shape their message, tell their story, advance public dialogue, and create meaningful change. Workshops include: Communicating Outside the Academy, Working with Media and Writing for the Public, Preparing for Media Interviews, Being a Public Scholar, and Communicating with Social Media. Workshop schedule times are set with participants’ availability in mind. There is an expectation and ample support for fellows to put the principles learned into action by composing op-ed articles, providing expert commentary, and/or participating in media interviews and research and book features.

Public Scholar Program: Scope of Work

Workshops & Training

Communicating new ideas, findings and expertise are often afterthoughts for scholars, who assume or merely hope that their reports, research or books will somehow find their way to key audiences, be read with anticipation, and launch the scholar into professional or public discourse. We know differently. Learning to communicate scholarly research and expertise to the public requires skill and a commitment of time. We have proposed a series of workshops – two per semester — that will help scholars shape their message, tell their story, advance public dialogue and create meaningful change. The following ideas reflect our capabilities and can be adapted to your needs and expectations.

Communicating Outside the Academy

  • Our foundational workshop introduces the faculty cohort to the tools and knowledge to connect their research and ideas with people and institutions outside the academy. It includes understanding how their research and expertise fit into public conversation, identifying key audiences and explaining their research in different contexts and to audiences outside their field.

Working with the Media and Writing for the Public

  • This workshop introduces faculty into how the media works, what the media want from scholars and how to write and publish op-eds.

Preparing for Media Interviews

  • A half-day media training provides more in-depth information on how to respond to media requests and how to be confident and comfortable in media interviews in both print and on camera.

Meet the Media

  • A panel discussion invites faculty to hear from and engage directly with media. A panel of invited local and regional reporters shares advice on working with the media and answers questions from faculty.

Being a Public Scholar

  • A presentation and guided panel discussion invite participants to hear from their faculty colleagues on their experiences as public scholars, both good and bad.

Communicating with Social Media

  • This workshop helps faculty understand the value of a digital presence, determine the social
    media platforms that work best for their research and goals, build a network and get the most
    out of social med

Public Scholar Media Relations Strategy

In addition to the curriculum, we work with faculty individually to develop their own personal public engagement strategies and help them meet their communications goals, whether that’s connecting with reporters covering their fields, placing a high-profile op-ed, or simply feeling more comfortable with the media. Additionally, we layer these individual strategies into the broader college media relations strategy to advance the visibility and reputation of the scholars and Lafayette College.

As part of each of these strategies, we are looking at the following tactical elements:

Proactive Media Relations

High-impact national media relations provides readers and viewers with real insights into Lafayette’s research and faculty expertise through communication activities that are carefully selected and produced, including expert commentary, media interviews and research and book features. We provide targeted outreach to top-tier media contacts who are most likely to be interested in a particular scholar’s work or expertise.

Op-ed Program

One of the quickest ways to create or advance the national dialogue on an important issue is by writing an opinion article for a major newspaper, magazine or website. In addition to formal workshop training, we provide ongoing counsel, editorial support and placement of by-lined commentary and opinion by faculty in the program.

Reactive Media Relations

RW Jones Agency has deep and lasting relationships with many reporters. They come to us regularly for sources because they understand we can deliver high-quality experts to speak intelligently in their field. We share any relevant media requests that come to us with faculty participants.