Media Guidelines for Interviews and Events
These guidelines were established to describe Pierpont’s position with respect to interacting with members of the press. For the purpose of these guidelines, “members of the press” shall refer to representatives of newspapers, magazines, newsletters, online publications (such as news blogs), television stations and programs, and radio stations and programs. Effective communications with the media are critical to Pierpont’s ability to carry out its mission and promote continued public support for the college. Effective media relations best serve the college by:
* Informing the public of what we can do for them
* Promoting the College's achievements, activities and events of significance
* Expanding the general visibility of the college
* Ensuring that accurate information is conveyed to the public regarding incidents and issues of a controversial and/or sensitive nature.
The Director of Marketing and Public Relations serves as the official college spokesperson and conveys the official College position on issues of general college-wide impact or significance or situations that are of a particularly controversial or sensitive nature. Inquiries from the media about such issues should be referred to Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Depending on the specific circumstances, the president or the Director of Marketing and Public Relations may designate another College employee to serve as spokesperson on a particular issue.
In cases of critical significance to the college, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations will work with other College officials to develop a "position paper" to detail the known facts of the situation and summarize the college's position. In the event of a crisis or emergency situation, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations will handle all contacts with the media, and will coordinate the information flow from the College to the public. In such situations, all college departments should refer calls from the media to the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
General Procedures For Dealing With The Media
The Director of Marketing and Public Relations is the "Voice of Pierpont Community & Technical College” and is responsible for managing media contacts, including releasing news items about Pierpont to the media. They also draft guest editorials and ‘pitch’ stories to the media about events, programs, services, students and faculty. In addition, they maintain a database of media contacts and monitor news about the college. When a good article runs, they help make sure it is seen by the Pierpont community. It is very important for employees to involve the Director of Marketing and Public Relations in all college- related communications with representatives of the news media, both to receive assistance in preparing for interviews and to ensure accuracy and consistency in public statements.
Members of the faculty and staff are free to respond to requests from the media regarding their scholarship, teaching or professional expertise. In such cases, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations should be notified as soon as possible to inform him/her of the contact. Such notification can be particularly important if follow-up inquiries are made with other college personnel to ensure a coordinated, consistent college response. Media inquiries should be referred to the Director of Marketing and Public Relations if they involve issues with College-wide significance and/or are of a controversial or sensitive nature.
The Director of Marketing and Public Relations is responsible for notifying media of events and coordinating media interviews. The Director promotes the College through press releases regarding special accomplishments, events and activities, programs and plans. All releases intended for external audiences should be routed through either the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
Since positive media solicitation is an integral element of the College's communications program, any ideas for articles or pieces that would positively portray the College, its work or its community should also be directed to the Director of Marketing and Public Relations. In a similar manner the Director of Marketing and Public Relations should be notified about negative occurrences that are likely to rise to the level of a news story.
All members of the press should contact the Director of Marketing and Public Relations prior to arrival on campus or at any off-campus location. Campus interviews, photography, and videography must be arranged through the Director of Marketing and Public Relations. While on campus, all members of the press are required to wear press badges that can easily be seen.
Photographs, audio, and video may be taken on the College campus in consultation with the Director of Marketing and Public Relations. To take photographs, shoot video footage, record audio, and/or conduct any interview inside College facilities, members of the press must be accompanied by the Director of Marketing and Public Relations or a college representative designated by the Director.
The College must obtain authorization from those whose photographs are taken with the intent to publicize the institution. Their consent allows the College to incorporate these photographs in situations appropriate to the image of an academic institution, including release to members of the press. A standard Photo Release is available here Photo Release form PDF
Guidelines for communicating with the media when the issue is non-controversial and should be limited to the faculty/staff member's area of expertise:
Obtain the name of the person calling, the media organization and, if available, the anticipated time of release of information in print or broadcast. This information should be included when the notification is made to the Director of Marketing and Public Relations with the media is to be prompt, helpful and honest. All contacts from the media should be returned as soon as possible, in deference to reporters' deadlines. At the most, a call should be returned within a half-day. If that is not possible, an alternate employee (if appropriate) or the Director of Marketing and Public Relations should be asked to handle the call.
Make sure you understand each question from the media before answering. If you cannot answer the question, or are uncomfortable providing a response, take the reporter's number and advise him/her that someone who can provide the information will contact him/her as soon as possible. Please follow-up by contacting the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
Do not offer speculations or gossip. Do not answer a reporter's question with "no comment." Do not be condescending or underestimate the reporter's intelligence, but make sure the reporter understands your responses. Provide your phone number and/or e-mail address for follow-up questions.
Remember that in responding to the media, you can be seen as representing and speaking for the college. Personal opinions should be clearly and carefully identified as such.
Issues that should not be discussed with reporters are 1) legal issues, 2) personnel issues, 3) questions that involve college integrity, such as ethics or issues that may result in harm to others, or 4) a campus crisis or emergency. Refer all such inquiries to the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
Any media inquiries that involve information about specific students should be directed to the office of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. Such inquiries will be handled in strict compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA.) This federal law protects the confidentiality of a student's education record. Information that may be given includes information found in a directory: the student's full name, local address and phone number, dates of attendance and degrees, honors and certificates received, class level (e.g.. freshman), and academic major(s). Grades may only be provided to the media if a student wishes to release the information in connection with an award or scholarship.
Any media inquiries regarding Pierpont faculty or staff should be referred to the Vice President for Organization and Administration. Only public information may be provided without the employee's written approval. Public information is the following: verification of employment, name of job title/position, full or part-time status, name of department, department address and phone number, employment starting date, salary/grade, rank.
Employees are strongly encouraged to wear their Pierpont issued nametag for television interviews and all employees are requested to mention “Pierpont Community & Technical College” at least three times during all interviews. In addition, in keeping with a consistent message, employees are asked to mention that Pierpont serves “North Central West Virginia” as often as possible.
For all events, please notify the Director of Marketing and Public Relations so that the event may be successfully marketed at least 30 days in advance of the event. Provide the Director of Marketing and Public Relations with art (photos) and copy (content) prior to sharing with any media sources.
Employees are encouraged to follow-up with media sources with thank you notes, emails, and/or texts. Please provide the Director of Marketing and Public Relations with copy and art for the college’s web page and social media outlets.