A day in the life of a scicomm officer. Chapter 3.

It has been a fair few months since I last shared a day in the life of a scicomm officer with you. So, I thought it was about time that I changed that and shared another insight – especially as the last few months have been even more varied than the previous two chapters I’ve shown you – check them out here and here! In fact, I have been in this job for 8 months now and only shown you two of those days! Apologies for that. So, it is time to show you the next chapter in my scicomm career diaries.

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07:01 – I still think this is far too early in the morning to be on a train every day. I thought I had got into a routine and dealing well with the mornings, but some days I still really struggle. And while it is great that I am finally travelling to work when the sun is high in the sky, I’m not sure the longer summer days are helping my routine. Either way – I’m on the train and most likely going to fall asleep shortly after snapping this shot!

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08:52 – Train was late arriving – again! So the race is on now to get through the underground and make it to my desk. And it’s boiling hot too! The sooner this bit is over, the better.

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09:51 – Arrived at my desk featuring my brand new desktop – yay! So I have spent the first part of the morning making sure I have all the software I need and connection to all the servers and folders and such.

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11:39 – My job as the science communications officer here doesn’t just involve all the external communications about our institute and research with the rest of the world. It also involves all internal comms too and making sure all my colleagues know about key things that are going on outside and within our institute too. But the current state of our internal comms could be improved to be honest with you. So, this morning we held a focus group meeting with some of the departments where internal comms is essential to them. We discussed what was working well, what wasn’t working so well, and all the content we would like to circulate if time, money and resource wasn’t an issue. We popped each idea onto a post it and mapped out similar ideas so I can go forward and try and find the best platforms and software to improve all of these important notifications. If you want to know more about how we structured this focus group and any internal comms structures we are looking into, please ask in the comments below.

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12:33 – After a quick summary of everything we had chatted about in our focus group, it was time to rush down to the cafeteria to grab a quick bite to eat before another busy afternoon for me. Loving the paninis they do at the moment! hah!

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13:26 – Another new publication to write about! Every time a group head notifies me that they have a paper coming out I ask that they send me a copy so I can give it a read, and then arrange a meeting with them – and any other authors – so I can get some quotes and key info about the work that has happened behind the scenes so I can write an article for our website, and decide whether it is press worthy and write a press release too, and that is what I’m doing now. This paper has now been published and you can read my article about it here.

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14:04 – You can wait a month for a publication to write about and then two come along at once! So, I have another publication to write about too. But these colleagues were also offered the chance to make a video abstract, or summary, which is what I’ve been working on the whole of this particular week. Today it was time to make some final edits to my first video attempt and get it submitted on behalf of the authors. This video is also no published. It is the one I spoke about in this Instagram post below, and you can also check it out here. I would love to know what you guys think!

View this post on Instagram

I PUBLISHED IN CELL πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ …well sort of. Let me explain… . Scientists doing academic research πŸ”¬always aim of publishing in one of the biggest scientific journals out there. So in my field, those are journals like Nature, Science & Cell. . And last week even though I'm not in the lab doing research anymore, I got my name – well more specifically the Soph talks science logo and my voice πŸ—£ – associated with Cell. And I'm celebrating πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ because it's the closest I'm ever going to get – even if the achievement really does belong to someone else. . Some of my colleagues had a publication released last week all about how our diet 🍎 affects our gut bacteria 🧫 which also influences how effective our medication πŸ’Š can be. Pretty exciting stuff! . So I was really excite when my colleague Filipe had been offered the chance to create a video πŸŽ₯ about their research & I got to try my hand at creating a video that is now LIVE on Cell's YouTube page and with the paper. . While it's not my research, its narrated, directed, produced and edited 🎬 by little old me! πŸ€— and it was so much fun! . While it is not an official achievement, I'm excited that my career choice has allowed me these opportunities πŸ₯°πŸ₯° and thanks to Filipe and his team for allowing me to improve and build some new skills, and giving me the responsibility of effectively communicating your research. . I'm also available for voiceover work now if anyone needs it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ . . If you want to know more about the research paper or my experience making videos, please ask your questions below! Head to the link in my bio to watch this video! . What opportunities are you grateful for this week? . . Image: Soph in yellow tee with laptop showing video credits

A post shared by πŸ”¬Dr Soph Arthur 🌻 (@soph.talks.science) on

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16:01 – And I am still not done for the day. It is a particularly busy time at work right now as we are preparing for a big institute review. Each of our groups need to write about all their achievements over the last five years, as well as what they aim to achieve over the next five, and there are many more aspects to it. But with the deadlines swiftly approaching, I am helping out by doing some editing, reviewing and document creation for us to submit in a few weeks time.

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19:02 – Home time! And yes, I’ve become one of those people who buys alcohol in a can for my journey home! But it has been a long day. I’ve had good wedding news today and I’m working from home tomorrow.

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And that’s a wrap on Chapter 3! A very varied day in itself, but also completely different to other days I have shown you in previous chapters too. And I absolutely love it! Wouldn’t change it for the world!

Check out the other chapters here:

Chapter 1Chapter 2

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If you have any questions about anything you have seen in this blog, or about my career in scicomm generally, please ask me in the comments all of your questions!

Is this what you thought a day in the life of a science communications officer would look like?

I’m also thinking about making these style posts into video form – so if you would prefer that or would like that as well then I would love to hear your thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “A day in the life of a scicomm officer. Chapter 3.

  1. Thanks for sharing Soph! Im very curious what your tips are for writing press releases because as a journalist, I noticed quite a variety in quality. Because I’m considering a job like yours, I know I need to get better at writing them!

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    1. Thank you. Press releases are still something I’m looking to get better at myself as only written a few so far. But my take homes so far would be to make sure you have a really good title. The amount of press releases that journalists could see each day is mind blowing so you really need to sell it in that title to make them look further. Most of the time it will only be the title they read. Next I would then make sure your press release starts with a really good summary sentence that gives a little more info than the title but again if that is all the journalists read they have all the essential information. Then as you write further add more and more of the details because if they’ve read that far they will be interested. I would also say dont press release everything. Carefully evaluate what ones you choose because it’s not only workload for you but you dont want to waste time on something extremely niche. Offer it as exclusives to some journalists before releasing it more generally. And make sure there are a fair few quotes in there from relevant people as quite often that is what the journalists want. Hope that is useful. But I’m by far an expert in press releases… yet :p

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