9 Research Communications

In this sectio​​​n:

9.1 Meet the team
9.2 Research Communications Team Service Statement?
9.3 What is the “news value” of my research?
9.4 How do I create or update my faculty profile on wlu.ca
9.5 What is the ‘Experts at Laurier’ database?
9.6 How do I work with the media?
9.7 How do I write an op-ed?
9.8 How do I plan and promote my event?
9.9 How can I get my work profiled on Laurier’s social media assets?
9.10 Where can I find Laurier’s brand standards, official logos and brand narrative toolkit?
9.11 What opportunities exist to speak directly to the public?
9.12 Crisis communications and issues management

If you are unable to find the answer you are looking for in this section, please contact us here.

9.1 Meet the Team

Nick Skinner, Senior Research Communications Strategist

The senior research communications strategist role spans the Office of Research Services and External Relations. Nick helps Laurier researchers share their results and successes with the wider community. Contact nskinner@wlu.ca to share your research updates. Contact Information

E: nskinner@wlu.ca

9.2 Research communications team service statement

The Senior Research Communications Strategist is committed to raising awareness of the Laurier research through storytelling.  This storytelling is key to maintaining and promoting the university’s institutional reputation, so we aim to help Laurier researchers showcase their research expertise and results.  

Laurier’s Senior Research Communications Strategist is here to help you share your research project, research output, graduate student work or event to the media and/or internal and external communities. The Senior Research Communication Strategist produces research-focused communications and marketing materials to help elevate Laurier’s reputation for academic excellence.  

Based on the content and context of your research, the Senior Research Communications Strategist will help you develop an individualized communications strategy. Factors to consider when developing a communications strategy include relevant audiences, funding requirements, timeliness, journalistic news value, institutional communications priorities and staff capacity.

Services include:

  • Promotion of research results and funding through tactics such as:

    • news releases
    • spotlight articles on wlu.ca
    • feature stories in Laurier publications  
    • social media
    • video content
  • Support and advice on: 

    • op-eds

    • marketing Laurier-hosted events

    • media outreach and training

We do our best to stay abreast of Laurier’s latest research but given the impressive output of our diverse faculty and students, please proactively reach out to the Senior Research Communications Strategist. Our communications team is committed to responding to emails with advice or next steps within 48 hours.  

9.3 What is the “news value” of my research?

Your research results or general expertise may be of interest to the news media. Broadly speaking, journalists judge newsworthiness based on factors such as: 

  • Proximity – Events and issues that affect local audiences. 
  • Timeliness – New information or topics that are currently in the public discourse. 
  • Prominence – Involves prominent individuals or organizations. 
  • Significance – Has a demonstrated impact or potential consequences. 
  • Human interest – Light or emotional stories about everyday people. 
  • Conflict – Contributes to an ongoing debate or inspires disagreement. 
  • Loss of life/property damage – “If it bleeds, it leads.” 
  • Novelty – Unusual, counter-intuitive or fresh ideas and information. 

If your work is characterized by some of these journalistic news values, there may be opportunities to pitch it to the media. 

No matter what you are studying, there is great value in communicating your research results to non-academic audiences. Sharing your work widens its impact and can inspire constructive conversations, further academic study and even public policy change. 

In order to effectively communicate your research, consider these three questions: 

  • Who is my audience? There may be more than one. 
  • What are the key points I want to communicate? Prioritize the information you want to share. 
  • What is the impact I want my work to have? How do you want your research results to be used? 

It is important to be able to speak and write about your work in plain language for people who are not specialists in your discipline. As an exercise, describe your research in 300 words or less without using field-specific jargon.

Perhaps your research is more niche and relevant to a specialized audience. In that case, it may be best to seek out industry or discipline-specific publications and news outlets. 

Laurier’s Senior Research Communications Strategist, Nick Skinner, ishere to help you strategize the best way to share your work with the Laurier community and beyond. 

9.4 How do I create or update my faculty profile on wlu.ca

We strongly encourage faculty members to maintain a faculty profile on our website. Not only does this publicly establish your role at the university – it is typically the first webpage that appears when someone searches your name on Google – it is also an excellent repository to display your academic achievements and research publications.  

Faculty members who do not have a wlu.ca profile can request one by completing the web services request form. You are encouraged to make your own edits. Complete the permissions request form to gain editing access. Self-directed training is available on MyLearningSpace (not mandatory) and an overview of the template​ is available on Connect to reference as you make edits​.​​​​

9.5 What is the ‘Experts at Laurier’ Database?

As news breaks around the world, journalists are always looking for academic experts to provide commentary or insights grounded in scholarship. If you are interested in sharing your expertise with the media, make sure that you are included in Laurier’s Experts at Laurier​ database. This searchable database is used by journalists who are looking for an expert on a particular topic.  

The Experts at Laurier database is populated manually by External Relations using information from your wlu.ca faculty profile, so please keep your profile up to date. 

9.6 How do I work with the media?

Refer to the Communication and Media Relation team’s Working with the Media​ page for more information.

9.6.1 Examples of Laurier faculty in the news

Laurier researchers are regularly featured in the news media, either being profiled for their own research or providing expert commentary on a timely issue. Check out the latest examples of Laurier in the news

9.7 How do I write an op-ed?

Refer to the Office of Research Service’s guide for Writing an Op-ed for more information.

9.8 How do I plan and promote my event?

Events are a dynamic way to engage people in your research or the activity of your research centre. Ceremonies and Events has a great resource page to help you plan a successful event.  

Once your event is scheduled, External Relations can help you promote it. 

  • Submit your event to the university’s events calendar. 
  • If you would like branded marketing materials for your event, complete Creative Services’ project initiation form at least three weeks in advance. 
  • For assistance communicating your event to relevant internal and external audiences, complete the communications project request form at least three weeks in advance. 
  • To promote your event specifically to Laurier Alumni: complete the online form found here: Laurier Alumni - Event/Program Inclusion in Laurier Lineup. This form will go directly to the Alumni Communications team for implementation. Typically the Laurier lineup is sent out the first full week of each month and submissions are due by the 15th of the month before deployment (e.g. for inclusion in February’s Laurier Lineup, requests must be received by January 15th). Please submit events with a live registration link rather than a “save the date”.
  • If you would like Laurier’s institutional social media accounts to help promote your event, complete the social media promotion form​

9.9 How can I get my work profiled on Laurier’s social media assets?

Refer to the Social Media page for more information about Laurier’s social media assets and complete the social media promotion form to submit a request.

9.10 Where can I find Laurier’s brand standards, official logos and brand narrative toolkit?

Refer to Communications and Media Relations and Creative Services​ in External Relations for more information about alignment with Laurier’s brand:

9.11 What opportunities exist to speak directly to the public?

To share your findings with public audiences in Waterloo and Milton, please contact research@wlu.ca to participate in outreach opportunities such as Milton Lecture Series or nskinner@wlu.ca for Inspiring Conversations.

9.12 Crisis communications and issues management

With the goal of protecting and enhancing the university’s reputation, the Issues Management unit within External Relations is tasked with anticipating potential problems and with developing plans that would lead to positive outcomes.  All Laurier employees play a role in the early detection, prevention, and management of issues. It’s important that you know what an issue is, and to report potential issues to their supervisors and the Issues Management team.  Refer to the External Relations Issues Management​ page for more information.