The University Expert Press Room – COP15

Chatting just now to @paulafeery, I learned about something that completely passed me by at the time – the OU COP15 Press Room (as you might expect, the site has disappeared… Internet Archive copy of sorts here).

Built on WordPress (yay!-) using the Studiopress Lifestyle theme, the site provided a single point of access to content and several OU academics with relevant expertise in the area in order to “support” journalists writing around issues raised over the course of the COP15 Climate Talks last year.

The site makes good use of categories to partition content into several areas (each, of course, with its own feed:-) So for example, there are categories for News, Research and Opinion, the latest items from which are also highlighted on the front page:

The site also syndicated a feed from an OU Audioboo site where OU academics were posting audio commentaries on related matters:

I don’t think there was a COP15 channel on the OU Boxee TV channel though, although there was an OU COP15 Youtube playlist:

(It strikes me that it might have been good to put a playlist player in an obvious or obviously linked to place on the COP15 press room front page? I also wonder how we might best guarantee OU exposure from any video material we publish and what sort of form it needs to be in, and under what sort of licensing conditions, in order for news outlets to run with it? e.g. How the Ian Tomlinson G20 video spread The Guardian brand across the media, Video Journalism and Interactive Documentaries and to a lesser extent The OU on iPlayer (Err? Sort of not…).)

Anyway, this thematic press room seems like a great idea to me – though I’d have also liked to see a place for 200-500 word CC (attribution) licensed explanatory posts of the sort that could be used to populate breakout factual explanation boxes (with attribution) in feature articles, for example.

Compared to the traditional press release site (which apparently serves as much as an OU timeline/corporate memory device as anything, something that hadn’t occurred to me before…) this topical press room offers another perspective on the whole “social media press release” thang (e.g. Social Media Releases and the University Press Office).

If you want to look back over the COP15 Press Room, you can find it here: OU COP15 Press Room [on Internet Archive]

PS If I was as diligent as Martin Belam at this sort of critique, I’d have probably have done a comparison of the OU Press Room site and example output as appearing on the Guardian COP15 topic page:

or the BBC COP15 topic page:

in order to see what sorts of content fit there might be going from copy on the OU Press Room to the material that is typically published on news media sites. If the content doesn’t fit, no-one will re-use it, right?

Maybe next time?!;-) (If you know of such a comparative critique, please post a link back to here or add a comment below;-)

[See also: UK Nordic Baltic Summit 2011 discussion site.]

Related: Social Media Releases and the University Press Office

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

4 thoughts on “The University Expert Press Room – COP15”

  1. I really like the part with the experts, great idea. There is an other “not usual” press site focused on industrial topic This one is also quite interesting with focusing on a special topic and with the possibility of posting videos.

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