Since commencing operation in February 2017, MCERA has rapidly established itself as an important conduit between leading education research and Australia's mainstream media, facilitating evidenced-informed stories across all states, and across print, broadcast, and online outlets.
We have assisted journalists with research-informed reporting at such outlets as The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Adelaide Advertiser, The Courier Mail, The Australian Financial Review, ABC Radio National, Triple J, Channel 9, Seven New, ABC News, and numerous others.
In our first 12 months of operation, we facilitated researcher input into coverage with a reach* of over 10 million. This figure does not include much of our regional coverage, and likely does not account for our full reach online.
By making the best research in education more accessible to millions of Australians, we empower the public to make more informed judgements on education issues.
Reach by state
*Reach refers to the combined circulation, audience, and average page views of print, broadcast, and online coverage respectively.
Kids' financial literacy
In September, MCERA wrote a release on ‘Lessons in financial literacy task design: Authentic imaginable useful’, an article by a researcher at Monash University in Springer’s Mathematics Education Research Journal. The release was initially pitched to a print journalist, who indicated interest.
Given signs of media interest in financial literacy in early October, and uncertainty from the journalist as to whether they would publish, with the journalist’s consent MCERA sent the release for wider distribution on 9 October. The release was first picked up by two regional ABC radio stations and a regional print outlet; on 13 October, it led to widely syndicated interview with the researcher on ABC Radio’s Business PM, and another interview on ABC News (an article on these interviews featured on the ABC website). At this point total reach of coverage was 503,489.
On October 24 The Conversation published an article by the researcher (after an editor had reached out to her in September, she had shown him the release written by MCERA). This article was syndicated to several news sites (including ABC Online), and sparked the interest for further ABC Radio interviews broadcast in regional NSW and Victoria. The article contained direct links to the researcher's paper.
By the end of November, total coverage had a reach of 583,461. As of 27 November, the Springer article had been downloaded 1.1 thousand times, and had an Altmetric of 51, placing it in the top 5% of Altmetric-scored research.
Misdiagnosis of language disorders in multilingual children
In October 2017, Taylor & Francis informed MCERA of an upcoming article to be published in an Australia-based journal, International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. The article concerned the misdiagnosis of multilingual children with speech-language disorders, harming their learning outcomes and wasting resources that might otherwise be used by children who needed them.
MCERA was cautious in assessing whether to use the research, since the author was not working at any Australian university, being an independent scholar based in Portugal. However, the scholar had a substantial research history, and the article itself was of significant interest. MCERA identified an expert at Flinders University as a scholar who had highly pertinent expertise, and it emerged that she had worked with the researcher in the past.
MCERA based a release on the international researcher's article and an interview with her, and incorporated comments from the Australian expert. The release put the latter forward as an expert on speech-language pathology for multilingual children, able to speak to the research’s application in the Australian context.
The release was distributed under embargo just prior to the publication of the article on 12 December (ACDT). In consequence, interviews on the research with the Australian expert were broadcast that day by 3 radio stations: 2SM in Sydney, 2TM in Tamworth, and ABC Radio National nationwide. The interviews had a total reach of 189,900. The interview on Radio National was 3m 40s long.
The reseacher's article now has an Altmetric score of 25. The Australian expert was very positive about her experience, thanking MCERA for the opportunity, and the international researcher said that “MCERA provides an invaluable service in disseminating current research, knowledgeably, quickly and effectively."