‘Publish or perish’ applies also to academics in ethics of higher education, says Media Tenor’s Schatz
Keynote Speaker, Roland Schatz at the Globethics.net International Conference
There is an old academic maxim, "publish or perish", that applies also to teachers of ethics in higher education, a media expert and United Nations adviser has told a globethics.net international gathering in Geneva.
That axiom does not only apply to academic journals but also to the mass media such as newspapers, television and radio, says Roland Schatz, founder and CEO of Media Tenor International SA and senior advisor to the UN Director General in Geneva.
Schatz was a keynote speaker on the second day of the 4-6 May Globethics.net International Conference, titled "Managing and teaching ethics in higher education: Policies, skills and resources," held at the Château de Bossey, near Geneva.
His topic was: "Ethics in Higher Education as a Key Driver of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" and his advice was very practical for those want their message to reach a wider audience.
In an interview, Schatz, who is a Global Media Expert to the UN Alliance of Civilizations, said he tried to remind conference participants of something that everyone in academia knows, but that also is relevant to those in the arena of higher education ethics.
He said that academics after publishing research need to convince others about the importance of their work, so they must go to academic journals which normally publish quarterly or half yearly.
"This takes a lot of energy and skill and we all know this work is not easy," said the German media expert and he also believes it is not enough.
"My reminder was that there is life outside of academia," said Schatz who is the fifth generation of journalist in his family. He also teaches communication management at universities in Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
"If you want to get additional funding for your research projects; if you want to attract the right students; attract good young people; the only way that you can do this is if somebody is aware and that you are visible.
"And the only way to be visible is having journalists write about your research in newspapers, tabloids on the television or in radio – that is in the mass media, in the traditional old-school media," explains Schatz.
He said people should not fall into the trap that "social media will do its magic". It will only do so if an academic has implemented "the old school rules" of attracting mainstream journalists to write about their story.
"If you are good in this you will be good in social media, and if you are bad in this you are also bad in social media, but also bad in all media," Schatz asserts.
Getting research message out
Without getting the message out about their research, he says academics will never make it to a higher rung of universities or to the Harvard's, Oxford's or Heidelberg's of this world.
In all the skill that goes into publishing in academic journals, why not implement the skills for their daily routine with "normal journalists"? he says.
"If they have forgotten how to do that or if they pretend that they were never interested in that then they have somebody at the university, and that is called the university's media relations department," notes Schatz.
He said good universities that get the message about their research out to the world have media departments that do this work adeptly.
Among the institutions and persons present at the conference were: Catholic University of Eastern Africa; the Tangaza University College in Kenya, the University of South Africa; Stellenbosch University; representatives of institutions of higher learning in Asia, from The Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies and the India Dhamaram Vidya Kshetram; from China and Argentina; from the University of Nigeria Nsukka; the Godfrey Okoye University; The Peaceland College and other higher education institutions in Nigeria.