Capturing national attention for UC Davis drought expertise

Photo: A rancher standing in a dry field

We find compelling stories that show our faculty making connections with California ranchers and farmers to solve drought challenges. Brad Hooker/UC Davis photo

Our services

  • Wrote news releases
  • Provided photos and audio
  • Promoted through multiple channels
  • Live-tweeted conference
  • Coordinated conference
  • Facilitated briefings
  • Arranged bicoastal interviews

Client: UC Davis water and economic researchers

Goal: Show the impact of the California drought on the nation and the importance of California agriculture

At the invitation of Climate Nexus, the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences presented its study of the drought’s economic impact on California agriculture on July 15, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Through promotion of the study, our News & Media Relations team elevated a state economic and environmental problem to the national level at a critical time when state drought legislation was being considered.

Our campus news influenced California policy changes on conservation and water management, as evidenced by follow-up media reports. The drought forecast also prompted visits from high-level U.S. officials to agricultural areas most affected by the drought.

  • Screenshot: Drought media kit

    The news release included a media kit with photos, the report, audio clips and the live webcast of the news conference.

  • Screenshot: UC Davis home page

    A campus home-page photo of a state engineer measuring groundwater flow drew hundreds of Web users to the news.

  • UC Davis Drought Watch website with news conference video

    UC Davis’ California Drought Watch website streamed the news conference live.

  • Screenshot: Drought conference audio clip

    Preview and conference audio clips were featured on the California Drought Watch website.

  • Screenshot: Drought posts on Facebook and Twitter

    The news was shared widely on Facebook. And on Twitter, the drought study resulted in hundreds of tweets to millions of followers.

  • Screenshots: News sites featuring the UC Davis drought coverage

    Our news effort generated more than 1,000 media hits.

We attracted more than 1,000 media hits on the day of the conference, and more than 800 people printed out the news story on the Web. Major national and state media covered the story, including:

  • The New York Times
  • National Public Radio
  • National Geographic
  • Washington Post
  • Associated Press
  • All of the national TV networks

Using social media and online channels, our team engaged a broader consumer and business audience that included winery and dairy operators, conservationists and the finance professionals. On Twitter, the study elicited high-prestige tweets from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., California Gov. Jerry Brown, and several prominent reporters. The many tweets discussing the report reached millions of followers.