Tips for Good Media Relations Tips for Good Media Relations

TIPS FOR GOOD MEDIA RELATIONS
VU Department of External Relations - Office of University Relations

The VU News Team facilitates media access to campus leaders and newsmakers, topical experts, news releases, and photos. The staff provides assistance for breaking news, current trends, public opinion, or research. The mission of the office is to plan, design, manage, implement, monitor, and evaluate specific systems intended to enhance the overall image, communications, reputation, perception, competitive positioning, and understanding of Vincennes University and its programs and issues among external and key constituencies.

Vincennes University benefits from a strong, credible relationship with the news media. Credibility is built by consistently delivering useful, accurate information in a timely, straightforward manner. Below is some information we hope you will find helpful.

Addressing the Media

The VU News Team offers these guidelines for responding to requests for interviews, comments, etc.:

  • VU employees are free to respond to requests from the media regarding their research, scholarship, teaching, or professional expertise. Inform the Office of University Relations about the contact as soon as possible to ensure a coordinated, consistent University response if follow-up inquiries are made with other personnel.
  • Inquiries that involve issues with university-wide significance and/or are of a controversial or sensitive nature should be referred to the Office of University Relations.
  • Official University responses come directly from the Office of University Relations or a member of the Administration.
  • Always avoid saying “no comment.” If you can’t or don’t want to answer a question, explain why. If you don’t know an answer, offer to get the information and call back. If you are uncertain about what to do, you may refer the reporter to University Relations.
  • Do not make comments “off the record.” Always assume that what you say may be used in print or broadcast. Questions should be answered as fully and openly as possible.
  • Offer succinct comments for broadcast interviews; 10 to 15 seconds is usually preferred.
  • Journalists work on tight deadlines and may request an interview with little advance notice. Please accommodate the request if at all possible. If you are unable give them the information/interview they need quickly, direct them to University Relations.
  • It is inappropriate to ask to see a story before it is printed or aired. That is viewed as censorship.

News Stories

The VU News Team writes and distributes news stories to print and broadcast media, social media, the Online Newsroom, other appropriate publics, and employees at the Vincennes Campus, Jasper Campus, and All Other VU Sites. Places you may see VU news stories include:

  • VU Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Website, Online Newsroom
  • Area media: newspapers, radio, television, specialty publications, blogs
  • WVUT, WVUB, The Trailblazer
  • Area event calendars: Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau, media web sites, etc.
  • Appropriate trade publications

NOTE: Official VU news releases may be copied and used without alteration on departmental social media pages and/or sent to departmental patron lists. Additional information should follow the release.

Defining Newsworthy: What reporters look for in a story

Events that feature quality speakers, presentations about important current issues, and stories reflecting growth and positive change help promote Vincennes University and demonstrate that VU is a vital resource for new ideas, expertise, and global perspective.

What’s considered newsworthy is not an exact science, but certain criteria must be met before a story will get more than a glance from a journalist. The subject has a better chance at coverage* if it is:

  • Timely
  • Local or part of a trend (social, regional, or national)
  • A matter of public interest (affects or involves a large number of people)
  • A human-interest story

*NOTE: There is no guarantee that a news release or story idea submitted to a reporter will gain coverage. Many circumstances can cause a perfectly good story to be buried. Time/space constraints, breaking news, insufficient newsroom staffing, and everyday editorial decisions all impact placement.

Submitting Story Ideas & Information Submitting Story Ideas & Information

SUBMITTING STORY IDEAS & INFORMATION

The VU News Team is eager to help you share news and stories that promote your College, Department, or Area to all appropriate publics. Please make note that:

  • Information submitted for a news story is subject to verification before release.
  • Submissions will be edited to conform to the writing style used by the VU News Team.
  • News stories will be scheduled for release and sent to appropriate media as determined by the VU News Team.

Events/Activities

Event releases are limited to those that are open to the general public. There are occasional exceptions, so please feel free to contact the News Team for more information.

  • Due to the high volume of requests, it is possible that event releases will not be processed if information is received less than one week before the event.
  • For optimum event promotion, the News Team should receive at least basic information about an event no less than 4 weeks before the date of the event, even if details are not yet finalized.
    • It’s never too early to send notice of an event. Early notification allows the News Team to schedule news releases, radio/TV interviews, media advisories, and digital signage, and to share the information with other departmental staff responsible for photography, graphics, paid advertising, and more.
  • Follow-up information (competition results, awards presented, etc.) about an event/activity that has already taken place should be submitted within a few days of the event/activity.

You may use this link to complete an online form:
https://my.vinu.edu/web/external-relations/event-news-release-form

If you prefer to submit by email, vunews@vinu.edu, be sure to include:

Your name, job title, and phone number
Details - be specific: Journalists look for the who, what, when, where, why, and how

     Name of activity/event; date(s), start & end times; location
     Name of sponsor/host organization
     Name(s) of presenter(s) or performer(s) - include brief biographical info, if possible
     Target audience (who you want to reach)
     Cost of tickets and where to get them

     Request for Event Photography

     Use this link to request coverage by the University Photographer:
     http://photo.vinu.edu/About-Us/Request-Event-Photography

Employee Accomplishments

The work you do is important to students, colleagues, supervisors, alumni, academics, donors, the community, and other publics. All VU employees - faculty, professional staff, and support staff - from all campuses and sites are encouraged to share news of fellowships, awards, leadership roles, presentations, etc.

Providing complete, detailed information helps the VU News Team accommodate requests for accomplishment postings.

You may use this link to complete an online form:
https://my.vinu.edu/web/external-relations/employee-accomplishment-news-release-form

If you prefer to submit by email, vunews@vinu.edu, be sure to include:

     Your name, job title, and phone number
     Name and description of the award/recognition:
          Where and when was it given
          Nature of the achievement (advanced degree, conference presenter, keynote speaker, award, etc.)
          Full name of the affiliated organization/institution
          Reason for the recognition
          A head shot photo and brief personal bio

     Request for Head Shot Photo

     Use this link to schedule an appointment with the University Photographer:
     http://photo.vinu.edu/About-Us/Request-Studio-Photography

Feature Story Ideas

Feature stories contain information that will give readers insight about VU and its mission. They can be pitched to the media and/or published as news highlights on the VU Website and Online Newsroom, and in various other electronic media.

Story ideas are reviewed by the VU News Team to develop editorial content for all communications vehicles.

You may use this link to complete an online form:
https://my.vinu.edu/web/external-relations/release-feature-story

If you prefer to submit by email, vunews@vinu.edu, be sure to include:

Your name, job title, and phone number
Details and key points of the story idea:
     What readers will learn about VU and its mission
     Facts and/or statistics to support the story
     Full name of any affiliated organizations/institutions

ONLINE REQUEST FORMS - PHOTO/VIDEO

Photo - Studio
Photo - Location (non-studio)
Production Model Release Form
Video Production Request Form (in development)