Seek News Coverage about Your Academic Conference

Professors, researchers and staff organize and host many conferences at UBC. On occasion, you may be interested in attracting some form of media attention for a variety of purposes. UBC’s Public Affairs Office can provide feedback about the likely level of media interest in the subject matter and speakers, along with pointers about how and when to contact media to achieve your goals.

Promoting Public Attendance
If your conference, or select sessions and events, are open to the public, and your primary goal is to build awareness in order to generate public attendance, your most effective strategies should be to:

  • Post your event on www.events.ubc.ca
  • Submit information about your event to the UBC Events Calendar. Click here
  • Send notice of your event to free community calendar listings in local media outlets (a list of these can be found at: Community Calendar Listings) Note: send your notice at least three weeks before your event as most listings are compiled well before publication
  • Send e-mail or mail invitations to lists of people who will have an interest
  • If budget allows, place ads in appropriate local newspapers or on local radio stations, or consider advertising on social media through Facebook ads or Twitter promoted posts. Contact comm.marketing@ubc.ca for advice. UBC’s Public Affairs Office does not publish academic conference information in UBC Reports.

Generating Media Stories about Your Conference
Whether your conference is open to the public, or reserved for invited academics, you may be interested in getting the interest of journalists in your activities. Mainstream journalists will naturally be interested if:

  • The subject matter of the conference is topical, and speakers focus on issues of concern and interest to the community at large
  • There are any speakers or experts well known to the general public
  • Sessions and speakers are accessible on weekday mornings (due to daily 4 pm deadlines for filing their stories, most reporters will not attend events in the late afternoons, evenings or weekends)
  • Reporters have an opportunity to do interviews before the event

If you feel your conference and speakers are topical, UBC’s Public Affairs office can work with you on ways to earn coverage. Journalists may want to come sit in on sessions, and also interview speakers individually beforehand. After reviewing your conference agenda we can:

  • Identify the most appropriate journalists who may have an interest
  • Work with you to craft and distribute a media advisory a day or two in advance of the conference (i.e. a short note outlining the event details, subject matter, and highlighting the most relevant media information)

What we require of you is to:

  • Work with conference speakers to ensure they are willing to make themselves available to the media before and/or during the event
  • Make sure your sessions can accommodate reporters’ needs including seating, space for TV cameras, audio feeds, etc.
  • Manage media calls, and make sure journalists are able to get the interviews they need

UBC Public Affairs’ primary responsibility is to ensure UBC experts and speakers are highlighted and profiled in your events. In the case that your event primarily profiles non-UBC experts or speakers, be aware that we cannot guarantee reporters will mention UBC or your academic program in their coverage.