Introduction:Universities have always focused on research, but the dissemination of research results beyond the scholarly community is often less of a priority (Armstrong, 2011) and poses serious challenges for scholars. Research is regularly published in books and in specialized scholarly journals, but both are expensive and often not readily available to the general public. The presentation of research papers at scholarly conferences is also problematic in that audiences tend to be limited to other scholars. Lack of ready access to upto-date research results means that individuals, communities and sometimes even government policy makers do not have the information they need for decision-making purposes. Moreover, students’ preoccupation with day-to-day studying and their focus on class-related work means they too are often unaware of advances in knowledge and the work professors do in their role as researchers in the academy. To address the challenge of making research results available to a wider audience, my Undergraduate Research Opportunity award focused on the creation of multimedia journalism stories for a research-focused website. Ryerson University School of Journalism professor April Lindgren’s Local News Research Project was used as the test case. Media outlets regularly report on new research, presenting it in a way that is easy for audiences outside of scholarly communities to understand. This paper argues that combining the Internet’s wide reach and multimedia capabilities with journalistic storytelling is an elegant solution to the problem of research dissemination. In addition to making various aspects of research available to a potentially huge audience, this approach ensures the information is presented in a way that is easily digestible for students, other scholars and the general public. Since it is standard practice for journalists to seek reaction to the latest news, translating scholarly articles and reports into stories that include reaction is also an opportunity to engage communities, including those who are most directly affected. Finally, a research-related website is also useful as a place to publish and publicize reports and other research documents that, due to scope or focus, may not be suitable for inclusion in traditional scholarly journals or books.
Fatima, Sahar. (2012). Telling scholarly stories: Translating research outcomes into multimedia stories for the purposes of dissemination. Available here<http://journalism.ryerson.ca/Documents/TellingScholarlyStories.pdf>