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Localizing health news

Ozioma produces specific press releases

“Know your audience” has long been a mantra for public relations practitioners, but few have the time to localize their press releases for multiple communities. Researchers at MU’s Health Communication Research Center (HCRC) are trying to simplify this process.

With funding from the National Cancer Institute, HCRC partnered with Washington University to create Ozioma, which aggregates health data from 40 sources. Reporters can search for statistics specific to their community, and public relations professionals can plug localized information into multiple press releases using a functionality similar to mail merge. In 2010, Ozioma won a Health 2.0 Developer Challenge award. So far, HCRC researchers have used Ozioma to provide geographic-specific and race-specific cancer news to minority newspapers.

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