Media Guidelines for Shenandoah Employees
The Office of Marketing and Communications (OMC) should be the first contact with the media. Please contact Brad Fauber, media relations coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share Your News
A Shenandoah University employee or department seeking to publicize a program, event or achievement should contact OMC with the request. OMC has access to and relationships with numerous news media contacts and will work with faculty and staff to coordinate publicity or visibility for programs, events or newsworthy issues.
In most cases, the media will contact the marketing office directly and then the media relations coordinator will contact you to set up a telephone or in-person interview. It is the media relations coordinator’s job to gain insight about the subject matter and intent of the interview, to help employees prepare for their interview, and to get sample questions from the media for this preparation.
What to Do if the Media Contacts You
Please ask reporters if they have contacted OMC first. If they haven’t, please ask that, in the future, all initial contacts should be made through this office.
If the media directly contacts you regarding a crisis situation, a legal issue, or a sensitive matter, please do not provide any information but refer the reporter to OMC. If we haven’t already done so, OMC will do the due diligence necessary to develop a strategy to protect the university, and its students, faculty and staff. If you are interested in speaking with the reporter, please discuss first with OMC; we may be able to provide you with additional information you might find helpful.
If you do not feel comfortable responding, please have the reporter contact OMC.
If you are comfortable with the subject matter, you should continue to talk to reporters but OMC encourages this only if:
- you are an expert on the topic(s) they are asking about, or
- it relates to your specific area of study or expertise
After the Interview
If you proceed with your interview, please follow up as soon as possible afterward with OMC with information including the news outlet, the reporter’s identity (and contact information), and the subject of the interview. It is important OMC track all media contacts, especially since OMC may be working with another media source on the same story.
Is the Media Allowed on Campus?
While on university property, news media representatives should be accompanied by the media relations coordinator or a staff member of OMC. If an event attracts news media interest, all press releases and statements to the news media will be routed through and disseminated by OMC.
Non-Work Issues or Personal Opinions
If the media contacts you outside of regular work hours about a non-Shenandoah issue, please do not speak as a representative of the university but as an individual and make it clear the views expressed are your own.
This also holds true if you provide an opinion or statement to the media for publication. Please do not speak or identify yourself as a representative of the university unless you are writing about a non-sensitive topic that relates to your area of study or expertise. Always let OMC know that you are reaching out to the media for publication. Please be cognizant about how you are representing the university at all times.
Respond in a Timely Manner
Please respond promptly to all media requests, even if it is to decline or to refer the reporter to OMC. Reporters are usually under very tight deadlines and a delay of a day, or even an hour, can mean the difference between favorable coverage or no coverage, and can potentially lead to a negative relationship with a reporter.
Tips for Your Interview
- Always make sure you have some time to collect your thoughts before the interview. Do not feel like you need to respond immediately or before you feel adequately prepared.
- If possible, give reporters written materials and additional sources that will help them with their article.
- Never mislead the media and don’t exaggerate.
- Repeat your main points, keep your statements clear and concise, and speak slowly.
- Assume everything you say will be quoted. If you feel commenting is inappropriate or outside your area of expertise, politely decline and refer the reporter to OMC.
- Don’t limit yourself to answering questions. Raise points you think are important.
- Don’t hesitate to correct a reporter if he or she makes an incorrect statement.
- Try not to say “no comment.” Instead, say, “I can’t answer that.”
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. You can always call the reporter back after you’ve found the information or consulted with OMC.
- Nothing is “off the record” or confidential. If you don’t want to see it in print or on the air, don’t say it. If you feel you must say something off the record, make sure that you preface your statement by saying “this is off the record” and ensure the reporter accepts that before continuing. Be clear about when you are back on the record.