Why does a research group require a media specialist?

The interesting thing I learned today is that some research units at UBC have their own hired guns in the media wars.  Maria Loscerbo, the principal of the private communications firm Epic PR, is in charge of “mak[ing] sure that there is a coordinated message and to ensure that it’s done correctly so it isn’t fractured” (see her comment on the Report Card).

This became an issue on Steffenhagen’s blog after Ms. Loscerbo inadvertently sent a chatty message telling the academics to sit tight until she got the story straight (my gloss, not her words).  Steffenhagen posted the email.

What has me curious is the fact that the Hertzman project is so big that they have hired outside help in managing their message.  Research across universities is fast being driven in the same direction as business firms, larger, more complex, integrated and oriented at generating revenue.   UBC has recently hired a former Best Buy exec to run the university’s finances.  WHIle some suggest this is a good thing, the rest of us our left wondering about the real state of affairs when cost efficiencies and coordinated messages take the high seat over real research and teaching.

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