Communications Toolkit for Academics


Many journalists and media outlets publish stories around major national holidays, remembrances, celebrations and pop-culture dates. Below is a list of current events or special dates about which your research or expertise could relate. These dates and question prompts can be used to help you generate ideas for blog posts, social media posts, op-eds, articles for The Conversation, or to be quoted in the media. Please contact Jessi Adler at if you are interested in writing for The Conversation or being listed as an expert for one of the below topics. 

Topic Ideas

August - National Immunization Awareness Month. Why does the controversy over immunizations continue despite evidence they are safe and necessary? What more can be done to help immunization rates increase? Many think vaccines are just for kids, but adults need them too – why are so few adults receiving the immunizations they should?
August 16 - 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Elvis is still the bestselling solo artist of all time with worldwide sales of around 1 billion units. Why does the world continue to be obsessed with 'The King'? Would Elvis have seen the same type of success today? What lessons can we take from his success?
August 21 - Total solar eclipse crosses the entire U.S. for the first time in 99 years. What makes a solar eclipse so unique and fascinating? Locations along the path of totality have been sold out for months – what type of economic boon should these cities expect? What legends/folk tales/rituals are associated with solar eclipses?
Aug. 27 - World Water Week. Annual global meeting in Stockholm for the planet's water issues. This year's theme is 'water and waste - reduce and reuse'. How can more people conserve water? Major companies like Nestle continue to pump out groundwater for bottling – what are the environmental impacts on operations like this? When/why did we become obsessed with bottled water?  SPECIAL NOTE: MSU's own Joan Rose was the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize Winner. She worked with CABS to amplify the announcement of her prestigious award and as a result, it became one of the top water news stories in 2016. 

National Preparedness Month. A nationwide effort encouraging everyone to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. As weather-related emergencies continue to rise, what are the best steps to prepare? What essentials, copies, records, food items should you have on hand? What role does technology play in emergencies?
September 9 - 60th anniversary of President Eisenhower signing Civil Rights Act. This act was primarily a voting rights act ensure that all Americans could exercise their right to vote. Why is voting still such a contentious issue in many states, especially when it comes to providing identification at the polls? What is the impact of early-voting or no-reason absentee voting on elections? Why don’t all states have the same voting rules and requirements?
September 11 - 16th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks. Airport security measures changed quite a bit after the 9/11 attacks and have changed again several times since in response to subsequent attacks and attempted attacks. Although it’s of course necessary to make reactive changes when would-be terrorists attempt to (or successfully) exploit security weaknesses, how many proactive changes have been made in the last 16 years? How much safer are we because of these changing security measures?

September 15 - 20th anniversary of the domain name registered. Has being able to search for information online improved or hurt education when it comes to correctness of information? Are students too trusting of what they read online?  In an era of “Let me Google that”, how can we be sure people are learning the correct information? With September also being Library Card Sign-Up Month, how has Google changed the use of libraries?
September 25 - 60th anniversary of Little Rock High School desegregation. Alternatives to public education, including private, parochial and charter schools, have been multiplying in recent years, particularly given their support among the current leadership of the Department of Education. What effects, if any, does the expansion of such programs have on desegregation efforts? What is the historical relationship between segregation and non-public schooling?

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