Chapter 28. Tips for Generating a Media Release and Media Coverage: How the Media Ate Up My Research on Aussie Horror Movies
Mark David Ryan
Mark David Ryan is a Research Fellow in film and television for the Queensland University of Technology. He has a Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours, from the University of Southern Queensland. He completed his PhD at the Queensland University of Technology in 2009. His research interests include Australian film and horror movies, popular movie genres (action, science-fiction, thriller, crime, etc.), entertainment industries, and cultural policy. Mark is one of Australia’s leading media commentators on movie genres. The focus of this paper is preparing research for dissemination by mainstream print, broadcast, and online media.
While the rise of the blogosphere and social media is proving an effective way of reaching niche audiences, my own research reached such an audience through traditional media. The first major study of Australian horror cinema, my PhD thesis A Dark New World: Anatomy of Australian Horror Films generated strong interest from horror-movie fans, film scholars, and filmmakers. I worked closely with the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) public-relations unit to write two separate media releases circulated on October 13, 2008, and October 14, 2009.
A key lesson from this experience is that redeveloping research for the media is an acquired skill. It requires a sharp writing style, letting go of academic justification, catchy quotes, and an ability to distil complex details into easy-to-understand concepts. Although my study received strong media coverage, and I have since become a media commentator, my experiences also revealed a number of pitfalls that are likely to arise for other researchers keen on targeting media coverage. This chapter reflects upon the process of working with the media and provides tips for reaching audiences, particularly in terms of strategically planning outcomes. It delves into the background of my study, which would later influence my approach to the media, the process of drafting media releases, and key outcomes and benefits from popularizing research. The two original media releases are included here.