Brand Journalism: It’s Up To Us

With the stunning deterioration of traditional newsrooms and the related erosion of medical and science journalism, public relations professionals are increasingly expected to create and distribute their own content and build their own audiences. Nicole Fawcett of the University of Michigan and Jill Chadwick of the University of Kansas presented fascinating examples of how to do it.


The University of Michigan created Michigan Health, a patient-centered blog that engages a team of public relations, marketing, social media and video professionals with the goal of enhancing the institution’s reputation. The team produces at least one story per day, and every story is amplified through the use of Facebook (with paid boosts) and Twitter. The team continues to pitch the news media, posts to Newswise and EurekAlert and content is promoted via a weekly newsletter.

The results? In two years they have featured nearly 800 experts, enjoyed 3 million page views and have grown their social media audiences. Their content is being shared by politicians, media and other influencers.

The team also created Michigan Health Lab, a blog aimed at physicians, researchers and others interested in science and medicine. It’s a home for medical school news, research publications, industry trends, health care policy and other topics.


  • Q&As are quick and easy ways to share news and information (great for papers in which your doctor isn’t the lead)
  • Feature scientific research that touches on popular topics
  • Post commentaries by experts and also run them via paid Twitter campaigns
  • Re-post existing content for awareness month promotion
  • Look at search analytics to find out what stories are generating interest

Medical News Network:

With a major donor gift the University of Kansas created its own television studio to produce stories for distribution to news media and for use on social media channels. The network is a platform to promote the health system, its experts and expertise on a wide range of subjects.

The network produces and uploads three video stories every Friday and gives journalists access to each element of each story including interviews and B-roll. The producers understand that news organizations want access to behind-the-scenes content, including visuals, all of which are provided. The website makes access to content easy.


  • Know your TV audience demographics
  • Remember the big ratings months: February, May, July and November
  • Be selective in choosing interview hosts
  • Know your opening and closing for each interview
  • Zoom with your feet, not with the camera
  • Mind your backgrounds

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