Conditions for a Successful Meeting News Conference

The recommendations for a news conference at a meeting are basically the same as those listed earlier for an individual institution's news conference.

As mentioned earlier, the scientist should first sum up the report briefly, emphasizing its implications. Also, scientists should be aware of the need for brevity in their quotes. Also, props, videotape, photographs, slides, or charts are valuable, and should be shown before questioning begins.

News conferences at scientific meetings may involve a panel of speakers. If so, the chairperson should start by summing up the panel's position. Then, each member of the panel may add a few points. The questioning by journalists then follows.

The number of conferences at a meeting that can be scheduled per day depends on the genuine news potential, the reasonable time available to journalists, and the variety of reporter interests represented at the meeting. For most scientific meetings, two conferences is normal and four is about the limit, aside from private interviews.

The situation sometimes has to be played by ear. If there are many speakers of national or international importance, you probably should schedule more news conferences. If you're in doubt, ask around among the science writers present. If they're interested in more, they'll say so.


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