Talking … with U of M explained

Talking … with U of M is one of several proactive tools the PR team uses to connect journalists with University of Minnesota expertise—particularly for journalists and audiences in Greater Minnesota. The highlighted topic fills in the ellipses in the title of each release (e.g., Talking happy and healthy retirement with U of M).

Produced in partnership with unit or college communicators, this tool is designed around five questions that offer community and regional newspapers valuable content while allowing us to showcase University expertise and research. The broad, audience-friendly topics could be related to anything from health advice and pet care to planting season or commentary on the issues of the day.

These releases, lovingly referred to as 5Qs in-house, are often republished verbatim by statewide and, occasionally, national media. While the content can be used without an additional interview, particularly unique perspectives or timely topics may generate follow-up requests from local tv, radio, or podcast reporters. University partners are welcome to repurpose this content for unit websites, newsletters, social media, and other channels.


The basic structure for Talking … with U of M includes:

  • An introduction that describes the topic and why it’s timely or relevant.
  • Answers to five simple questions written by experts using approachable, everyday language—roughly 175 words per answer—with the final question intended to highlight current or ongoing University work related to the topic.
  • A short biography highlighting the expert’s areas of interest and research and outreach activities.
  • A boilerplate with a high-level overview of the affiliated college or unit.

Case Study: Going the distance

Talking ... with UMN shines a spotlight on University expertise, similar to Expert Alerts. Unlike Expert Alerts, it doesn’t need an immediate news peg, which provides flexibility for evergreen topics (e.g., annual awareness months or seasonal events). 5Qs also allow us to work weeks in advance to prepare for distribution.

With athletes starting to train for spring and summer running races, our Talking distance running with U of M featured Christopher Lundstrom, a lecturer in the School of Kinesiology, who works with elite runners in the Twin Cities and provided tips for how to start training—no matter your level.

The release had the key elements needed for a great 5Q: A general overview of the topic, applicable tips for runners at all levels, and a discussion on Christopher’s work at the University.  

Reach out to the PR team at to learn more about how we can help share University news and build relationships with the media. Read more Talking … with U of M.