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  Activity: Why does a story matter now?

You've explored the ingredients that make a science story newsworthy, but it is also crucial to consider the context in which your research occurs. This lecture explores this idea, in the form of ‘news pegs’.

A news peg is what makes the story timely or newsworthy — the reason why you’d communicate it now rather than in a month.

For example, you might be doing research on how the climate affects glaciers. Talking to journalists about your work when a big climate change event like the UN’s COP summit is going on would be timely and increase your chance of getting exposure.

Perhaps your research focuses on sugar’s effect on human behaviour. If a government announces a tax hike on sugar, you might have something to say about it.

If you are communicating your research to non-specialists, always consider what the news peg is. Ask yourself why this matters now?

Doing this will give your work more relevance, will put it into context for people and may generate more interest.


Scan today’s news and identify one or two news pegs for your research. Share these in the comments section.


Here are two examples:

News story Area of research and example news peg
New virtual reality headset released by a video games company Virtual reality: implications of virtual reality in sports science
World’s obese ‘outnumber underweight’ Malnutrition: ensuring people don’t forget that malnutrition is a serious global issue

In the next lecture, we’ll consider the six burning questions that journalists try to answer.

17 comments
Mariamawit Y Yeshak
'History of smallpox called into question: Study on a 17th Century Child Mummy being undertaken to see the history of smallpox' BBC News: Indigenous and traditional medicine played a role in preserving the Mummy
Vuban Joyce Afuh
The University World News stresses the implications of the Bologna Process on CEMAC region-based BMP in Cameroonian universities. It is to this effect that policy borrowing in Cameroonian universities has become an integral part of my research.
Mouyelele Haufiku
1. Aeroplanes crashes - many cases reported in the current years especially in countries with busy flight movements
2. Health care issues - this is mostly a problem in the developing countries e.g the resent severe Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Emanuele Fantini
Ethiopian Police Detain Journalists Reporting On Drought, Escort Them Back to Capital
http://allafrica.com/stories/201608181029.html

Environmental issues, like drought or Nile waters, have strong political implications and are highly sensitive, particularly in country with little freedom of expression like Ethiopia, Sudan or Egypt.
Deusdedith Ishengoma
news;
1.Why is there still controversy over Caster Semenya:
Area: Sports/athletes: Resolving the long term conflic of involving people in sports in ther correct gender category, once it can be possible correctly classify competitors with disputed gender into correct groups.
2. Using CRISPR gene enditing to cure sickle cell disease
Area: Medicine/public health: Finding a reliable cure for patients with sickle cell disease
chenai chair
Shoot-out: Telkom FreeMe vs Afrihost Mobile
https://www.techcentral.co.za/shoot-out-telkom-freeme-vs-afrihost-mobile/67329/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+co%2FUqJF+%28TechCentral%29

Does spectrum auction really favour ‘duopoly’?
https://www.techcentral.co.za/does-spectrum-auction-really-favour-duopoly/67337/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+co%2FUqJF+%28TechCentral%29
Beatrice Mosello
Game of Thrones stars call for EU leaders to help Syrian refugees: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/02/game-of-thrones-syrian-refugees-eu-greece-lena-headey-maisie-williams-liam-cunningham

One more reminder of the dire situation of Syrian refugees in camps in Greece and calling for 'doing better for them' - including delivering better services, hence our research which focuses on how this can be done (with ref to water and sanitation).
Rachel Kramer
Authorities rip off recreational anglers - http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Local/South-Coast-Fever/authorities-rip-off-recreational-anglers-20160629.
Ama
No hypertensive patient will ever forget to take his/her medication
Osman Yansaneh
AENews reports;
Biomass Energy — Rewriting the Advocacy Agenda: Part II

Jun 7, 2016: In part one of this series on advocacy in the biomass industry, the need for key stakeholders to come together on core policy issues so as to enhance a methodology that will help to identify an industry-wide list of priorities for both the near and mid-terms of the energy sector.
Tracy Adole
World Environment Day: http://www.ibtimes.com/world-environment-day-2016-facts-events-celebrate-green-holiday-2377355
The importance of research focusing on developing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Neema Aroni
This is a bit more of a computer forensics niche because of the dark web but I'd hypothetically be called in to collect physical evidence from the children to link their DNA to Richard Huckle and vice versa. NGS is more sensitive and discriminating than current PCR-CE based methods. technologies.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/06/britains-worst-paedophile-richard-huckle-handed-23-life-sentence/
Also, crime happens on a daily basis :-) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/30/french-gardener-given-30-years-for-patricia-wilson
Betzy Jematia Bowen
1.Energy firms urge EU to back offshore wind
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/06/renewable-energy-firms-urge-eu-back-offshore-wind
Renewable energy. Lack of regulatory support has hindered the growth of renewable energy

Elizabeth van der Merwe
Transplanting beta cells (derived from stem cells grown in the laboratory) into diabetic mice rapidly restores glucose homeostasis. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/661206/New-treatment-diabetes-breakthrough-Scientists-Type-1
Popular health: Potential cure for type 1 and Type 2 diabetes where beta cells fail to produce insulin.
Isaac Akinwumi
Wealthy Scots aristo accused of endangering public health (http://www.heraldscotland.com/NEWS/14537104.Wealthy_Scots_aristo_accused_of_endangering_public_health/)
Water pollution: containing toxic metals in order to protect public health and not to worsen the global water crisis
Nyovani Madise
The Guardian on 4th June 2016 reports that half anti-obesity charity's board resigns over dietary advice. A good news peg for my research on the use of food diaries to see changes in dietary composition.
M.E. Reza
1. Simple blood tests can help detect cancer study finds
http://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2016/06/05/simple-blood-tests-can-help-detect-cancer-study-finds.
Popular health: implications of blood tests on detecting cancer.

2. Number of migrant bodies found on Libyan coast rises to 133 - Red Crescent
http://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2016/06/05/number-of-migrant-bodies-found-on-libyan-coast-rises-to-133--red-crescent/
Human trafficking; Illegal migration. human trafficking is a serious regional issue.