Media Relations Guidelines
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Media Relations at Wheelock College works to promote the expertise of its community members and to respond to media inquiries. Specifically, we work to:
- Identify, build, broker and nurture external institutional relationships.
- Manage public-relations-seeking opportunities that further position Wheelock and its experts.
- Engage internal and external audiences by identifying strategic partnerships.
Media Relations is responsible for recommending, organizing, capturing and directing media relations activities. The office devotes resources to promoting and advancing the college's mission, which is a strategic priority for the institution. The team collaborates with others across the institution to help position Wheelock, promoting its best assets to the public at large via television, print, online and social media. Media Relations serves as a clearinghouse for information about programs, events, faculty and staff. The office may also provide research, contacts, or subject matter experts to support media requests. The following procedures explain the department policies regarding the work of the office.
When to Partner with Media Relations at Wheelock
- When planning a Wheelock-sponsored event. Media relations should be notified at least 2-3 weeks in advance, preferably earlier, and will participate and advise as time permits.
- When you have research to share, media story idea, and/or an expertise you think is a good response to an issue that has been in the media.
- You have a student, project and/or an opportunity that the world ought to know about and is aligned with Wheelock's mission.
The Media Relations Team provides the following services to the Wheelock College community:
External Communications & Community Relations
- Calendar listings for Wheelock-sponsored events
- Please see the Marketing department for any design needs for promotional flyers
- All press releases, media advisories and outside publicity of Wheelock-sponsored events should be shared with Media Relations prior to distribution.
- Press Releases Process
- Media Relations drafts press releases for notable accomplishments, Wheelock-sponsored events, new programs, appointments, and other highlights from Wheelock and distributes them to the appropriate media outlets.
- Media Relations bases press releases on the information provided by the subject of the press release or event organizer.
- The original source of all quotes, photos, statistics and other information must be provided to Media Relations for proper citing in the press release.
- The contact for the press release will have a chance to review the draft for factual accuracy and proper citations.
- Upon finalization of the press release by Media Relations, the press release will be distributed to approved media channels
- Only Wheelock-related news and sponsored events can be distributed through official Wheelock media channels
- Media Relations should be notified of events least 2-3 weeks in advance of events, preferably earlier, and will participate and advise as time permits.
- Op-Ed positioning and placement: Our office has experience placing op-ed articles in national and local news outlets and we offer services to help faculty members, students and other members of the community write and place their articles.
- Emergency PR services when necessary: Media Relations will lead you through best practices and coaching for handling possible negative situations.
- Media coaching (as needed) - guidance on best practices and preparation for interviews.
- Strategic thinking regarding opportunities - providing cohesive plans for publicity.
- Public Relations support on direction and management of PR opportunities.
- Tracking and monitoring of key issues; facilitating connections with experts.
Statement on Academic Freedom
The College does not attempt to control the personal opinion, nor the public expression of that opinion, of any member of the faculty or staff of the institution. As a college dedicated to the holistic development of students and to the production of graduates who effectively improve the lives of children and families in a changing world, Wheelock College affirms the vital role of diverse perspectives. The administration, faculty, staff and students share responsibility for fostering a climate that is favorable to the free exchange of ideas and to the examination of conflicting ideas and interpretations using generally accepted disciplinary standards of inquiry.
Faculty members are citizens, members of learned professions, and members of academic leadership. When speaking or writing as citizens, they should be free from college censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes obligations. As a person of learning, faculty should remember that the public may judge their profession and institution by their utterances. Hence faculty members should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not an institutional spokesperson.
Media Relations Staff
How do you know something is newsworthy?
- Local: Most news organizations cover a specific geographic range.
- Extremes or superlatives: the first, the last, the best, the worst, the biggest, the smallest. If your story contains one, highlighting it will usually make it more newsworthy.
- New: News stories have to answer the question, "why now?" or "so what?" Stories that are considered "old news" or just not that interesting often will not receive coverage.
- Timely and Relevant: Timely stories, often about an upcoming event, are often considered newsworthy, as are stories relevant to the news organization's specialty.
- David vs. Goliath: In many stories, there is a "big guy" and a "little guy."
- Surprising: Stories with an unexpected hook.
Wheelock Expert Database
This database is an invaluable tool for our PR efforts. It was developed primarily to better facilitate our ability to connect reporters/journalists to Wheelock College experts. Included in this database are profiles of Wheelock faculty and staff members featuring scholarship, research, important achievements, and areas of expertise.
Link to Expert Database
It is an easy process to get setup in the data base. Your information will not go live until you feel comfortable with it. Contact Alexandra Smith for more information.