The university’s Communications and Media Relations sends a press release of an upcoming public examination and dissertation to the media, and this information will also be published on the university website. The target group of the press release is the general public, which means that the style should be reader-friendly and, if possible, not too scientific. Upcoming public examinations will also appear in the university’s events calendar. The press release is a method of making the university’s research known to the media and the general public alike.
To make sure that your press release is sent out smoothly, please fill out the dissertation form, send your press release draft to Communications and Media Relations and have your photograph taken no later than two weeks before the public examination.
Fill out the dissertation form. The form asks for your personal information and information relating to your dissertation and public examination. This information will be used in the press release to the media. The information given on the form will also appear in the university’s dissertation database. You may fill out the form when you know the time and place of your public examination, and after your faculty has given you permission to defend the dissertation. NB. login with your UEF-account possibly required.
For the purposes of the press release to the media, you should write a short and clear description of your dissertation. The press release should highlight the main results of your research.
A Finnish-language version of the press release, which will be distributed to Finnish media, is also needed. Please turn to your thesis supervisor for assistance with the Finnish-language version: your thesis supervisor will know the correct terminology to be used in Finnish and can formulate a draft version, which will be edited further in Communications and Media Relations, if necessary. It is very important to deliver a good-quality Finnish-language version, so, please, do not send a version translated from English into Finnish by Google Translate or similar.
Both the English and the Finnish version will be published on the university website. The Finnish version will also be distributed to the Finnish media. If you wish to have the English version or a version in another language distributed to specific media abroad, e.g. in your home country, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Some faculties (e.g. the Faculty of Health Sciences) require that the thesis should contain both an English and a Finnish version of the abstract. Despite this, it is not recommended to use the abstract as the press release. The abstract is written for scientific purposes, whereas the press release aims at popularizing science.
Tips for writing your press release
The length of your press release should not be more than one page. Use clear sentences and language that is understandable to all. Avoid foreign terms and, if you must use them, explain what they mean.
The structure of your press release should follow the structure of a news story, i.e. the inverted pyramid. In the inverted pyramid, the information is arranged in descending order of importance. The most important material is placed at the beginning of the story, and less important material follows. In other words, present your most important findings first and then proceed to explain the background of your study. In addition to explaining how the study was carried out and what the results are, you can also tell about the general importance of your research topic and what the practical applications of your results could be.
Mention the most interesting things about your study in the main headline. You can also use sub-headings to structure the text and make it more reader-friendly. You should keep your paragraphs short.
Add your contact details at the end of the press release in case journalists want to contact you for further information.
The Communications and Media Relations Office will help you to write your press release in the inverted pyramid format. The Communications Officer in charge of your faculty can make suggestions on how to further improve the readability of your text.
Making your press release as news story like as possible for journalists constitutes good customer service on the part of the university. Furthermore, press releases with an interesting headline, clear language and written in the inverted pyramid format are more likely to get published than press releases whose content and significance are understandable to the field’s specialists only.
A link to a photograph of the doctoral candidate is usually included in the press release to the media. Thus, you should have your photograph taken no later than two weeks before your public examination.
Contact one of the photo studios listed below to book a time. Having your photograph taken is free of charge and the photographer will make sure that your ready pictures are delivered to all the necessary places. It is recommended that doctoral candidates wear a dark blouse or a dark jacket in the photograph.
If you are unable to have your photograph taken at the studio but have a studio-quality photograph available, you can send it to email@example.com. NB! Digital photos taken with a consumer grade camera and small passport photos rarely are print quality.
Where is the press release sent?
The university’s Communications and Media Relations sends out the press release (which contains the details of the upcoming public examination, a link to a photograph of the doctoral candidate and a description of the dissertation) to nearly all media in eastern Finland and to the main national media, including the Finnish News Agency STT, the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, MTV3 and Helsingin Sanomat. The distribution list also includes freelance journalists who are interested in science, and special field journals. Moreover, the doctoral candidate may ask the press release to be sent to additional media of his or her choice.
Media coverage and Interviews
The press release is usually sent out ten days before the public examination. The media may publish the press release as such or the candidate may be contacted for an interview. The candidate’s contact information is given in the press release in order for journalists to be able to contact the candidate. Please make sure that you are reachable after the press release has been sent out, because the media usually report on dissertations they find interesting already before the public examination.
You should, however, note that the media decides independently on whether a dissertation is worthy of a news article. Whether the news threshold is crossed or not depends on a number of factors: e.g., the number of public examinations, the general degree of interest of the topic, the overall business of the news day, and the home region of the doctoral candidate. In other words, the university cannot order the media to publish any press release.
Contact persons at Communications and Media Relations
Each faculty has a communications officer who takes care of press releases relating to dissertations.
- Philosophical Faculty: Communications Specialist Nina Venhe, tel. +358 50 593 0160
- Faculty of Science and Forestry: Communications Specialist Marianne Mustonen, tel. +358 44 716 2394
- Faculty of Health Sciences: Communications Specialist Ulla Kaltiala, tel. +358 40 745 6463
- Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies: Communications Specialist Risto Löf, p. 050 342 1958.