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Media Relations

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Voices
CURRENTS Article Persuading faculty to work with media and coaching them on it; and what the stuff in your workspace says about you.

Be Their Media Guide
CURRENTS Article Not all professors and administrators understand what reporters look for in a story, recognize that the media landscape has shifted, or view social media platforms as useful communications tools. Meanwhile, nearly everyone knows what a press release is, which is why people ask for them. (And they want what they want.) So how should you manage expectations for media coverage without acquiescing to illogical requests or making your job more challenging? Here's some advice from communications pros on how to build relationships and obtain media coverage that enhances your institution's image.

Public Relations Efforts Top Source for Education Journalists
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent report reveals that education journalists have high confidence in the impact of their work and that communications staff at educational institutions play a large role in their reporting.

Office Space: Three Things Communicators Can Learn from Startups
CURRENTS Article Annabel Adams' startup experience benefited her as associate director of strategic communications for the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. The fast-paced, results-driven culture she came from forced her to be resourceful, proactive, and bold. While the past 18 months haven't been as easy as she first imagined, she has learned to translate her experience in the startup world into communications strategies for higher education. Here are her top three tips.

2015 Circle of Excellence Grand Gold Winners
CURRENTS Article Emotion and connection were major themes among 2015's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Grand Gold winners. Whether communicating about a deadly virus, cultivating entrepreneurs, engaging alumni with advanced degrees, or sharing the inspiring story of a college student whose life was cut short by illness, institutions dug deeply into their creative toolboxes-though not necessarily into their budgets. They also had fun courting prospective students and welcoming new admits to the family.

Cap and Frown
CURRENTS Article Institutions want big names for commencement speakers, but high-profile figures can be controversial—and expensive. Are the risks worth the benefits?

What’s the Idea?
CURRENTS Article Recognizing faculty and staff members who participate in your institution's media relations efforts creates buy-in and gives people incentive to do more.

Translating Difficult Research into Easy-to-Understand News
Article,  BriefCASE Article Campus communicators should work with academics to turn their complex research into compelling news stories, says a speaker at the upcoming El Congreso CASE América Latina 2015.

How to Spotlight Faculty Experts and Score Home Runs with the Media
CURRENTS Article Many journalists need what we've got: Experts on a variety of topics who can provide insights and perspectives that enhance their stories and inform their readers. The trick is cutting through the clutter that's competing for media attention. Topic, timing, relationships with reporters, and name recognition help determine whether your pitch is successful, but none guarantee it. No matter the size of your communications operation, you can get your institution's faculty experts quoted in the news more often.

Round of Applause
CURRENTS Article Ten grand gold award winners of this year's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards are profiled here.

New Dimensions
CURRENTS Article Communications offices that understand the value of shifting from tactical to strategic create initiatives and outreach efforts about ideas and values--more purposeful messages--and have expanded the definition of "constituent" to include legislators, editorial page writers, and corporate leaders, just to name a few. This article examines the strategic shifts and related communications and marketing efforts of several campuses. Included is a sidebar about one British institution ("You've Got to Play to Win").

Institutions Need to Be the News in the New Media Landscape
Article,  BriefCASE Article With the power of search engines and new technology, coupled with the decline of education reporters, institutions have to shift their media relations strategies—and even become news sources themselves.

Looking Back at the Boston Bombings
CURRENTS Article Six months after the Boston Marathon bombings and the five-day manhunt that followed, five officials from area universities reflect on how they and their institutions dealt with the events that unfolded that week.

Responsiveness is Key in a Crisis
Article,  BriefCASE Article The most common mistake institutions make during a crisis is not responding quickly enough to the media, says a communications expert.

Expert Shares Effective Practices in Online Newsrooms
Article,  BriefCASE Article If a journalist, student, alumnus or community member went to your institution’s news site today, would they find what they are looking for? If you’re not sure, it may be time to give your online newsroom a facelift.

Using Advocacy as a Positioning Strategy
Podcast Hear Teresa Flannery from American University talk about how institutions can demonstrate their relevance and value by having campus leaders or faculty members discuss hot-button issues—such as rising student debt, cost and affordability or public policy related to school safety and gun laws. Also, hear her discuss some of the risks involved when using this strategy.

Watch Your Language
CURRENTS Article Since 1976, Lake Superior State University in Michigan has released a list of words that should be "banished from the Queen's English for misuse, overuse and general uselessness." Submissions to the list are submitted by the public and come in from all over the world. The self-proclaimed publicity stunt, released each New Year's Day, earns the small institution media coverage from dozens of media outlets.

Tips on How to Build Good University-Media Relationships
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent online chat hosted by The Guardian shared tips on how higher education communications professionals can build trust with reporters and avoid being misrepresented in the media.

How to Use “New” Media to Promote Faculty Research
Article,  BriefCASE Article It’s not always easy for media relations professionals to promote the important research taking place at their institutions. Presenters at a recent CASE conference, however, say there are plenty of social media platforms that, with a bit of strategic thinking, can be used to overcome this challenge.

Office Space: Pitch Craft
CURRENTS Article This article is intended to help communications professionals improve their relationships with reporters by offering tips for them to be better sources of information and ideas.

From Neglected to Connected: Reinventing Your Institution's News Site
Article,  BriefCASE Article When Tufts University decided to revamp its news site, it first looked to see what other institutions were doing. It turns out there were very few higher education role models—and a lot of fake storefronts.

Office Space: Meet the (Student) Press
CURRENTS Article This article looks at why it's important to have a good relationship with the campus newspaper and offers tips on building a positive and professional rapport.

Medios combinados
CURRENTS Article Manejar el fragmentado entorno mediático actual y aprovechar las redes sociales son acciones críticas para el éxito de la prensa.

Mixed Media
CURRENTS Article Successful media relations in today’s world require institutions to communicate their message online and across several social media platforms as well as to traditional media. The article discusses institutions’ use of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and distinct distribution channels to disseminate stories to their various audiences and constituents.

Panelists Discuss Turning Academics into Media Ambassadors
Article,  BriefCASE Article Strong, trusting relationships between campus experts and media relations officers can lead to high-profile media coverage that benefits the institution, according to panelists speaking at the 2010 CASE Europe Annual Conference.

Education Media Must Adopt New Business Practices to Survive
Article,  BriefCASE Article New, innovative business models are critical to saving media coverage of education, according to a new report on the challenges facing education journalism.

Selling Science
CURRENTS Article This article explains how communications professionals at colleges and universities can take complex, technical stories about science and research and make them sing for mass audiences.

Survey Finds Most U.S. Journalists Use Social Media for Story Research
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent survey of magazine, Web site and newspaper editors and reporters reveals that a large majority of working journalists now depend on social media such as blogs, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for background research in writing stories.

Media Coverage of Education Disappearing
Article,  BriefCASE Article Just 1.4 percent of U.S. national media coverage is dedicated to education, and little of that coverage has to do with learning, according to the authors of a new report on how the press covers education.

The Whirlwind of Media Relations Technology
CURRENTS Article How to stay abreast of promising technologies without getting confused by the dizzying pace of change

Speaker: Institutions Make News through "Crowdsourcing"
Article,  BriefCASE Article Web 2.0 tools have allowed the news media to “crowdsource” news by supplementing and integrating the work of journalists with photos, videos and commentary submitted by the public.

Report Reveals Top 10 Tips to Boost News Coverage, Build Media Relationships
Article,  BriefCASE Article What do reporters really want from nonprofits? A recent report by nfpSynergy identifies 10 tips that journalists say will help charities build key media relationships and improve placement results.

Specific Media Relations Programs: Waubonsee Community College - Gold Award
Best Practice Waubonsee Community College celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2006-2007. As part of the celebration, the college recognized and honored its top 40 alumni and students, calling them Waubonsee’s "Fabulous 40" to coincide with the anniversary theme of "Celebrating 40 Years of Student Success." The media relations campaign for the Fabulous 40 won an award from CASE in 2008.

Specific Media Relations Programs: Georgia Tech Research Institute - Silver Medal
Best Practice Georgia Tech Research Institute is the nonprofit applied research arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Nearly 80 percent of GTRI’s funded research comes from the U.S. military or military-related organizations, which could have a tremendously negative impact on the organization if there was a sudden downturn in federal military spending. To address this possibility, GTRI launched a media campaign to obtain widespread coverage of the institute’s non-military research programs and increase the number of non-military research contracts and collaborators.

Crisis Management: University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine - Gold Medal
Best Practice When Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was injured during the Preakness Stakes and rushed to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center, communications professionals were faced with a media frenzy that lasted for more than eight months. The resulting communications effort was extensive; through it, the school shared Barbaro's story and the hospital's research and work with the nation.

Hiding in Plain Sight
CURRENTS Article This article, a complement to "User Generation," examines how, with the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, crises can blow out of proportions in a matter of minutes. The author outlines strategies for preparing, managing, and surviving a crisis in a hyper-connected, always-on news world.

Specific Media Relations Projects: Georgia Institute of Technology - Bronze Medal
Best Practice Recognizing the need to develop safer military combat vehicles, the Office of Naval Research contacted the Georgia Tech Research Institute to design and build the ULTRA Armored Patrol vehicle. Unveiling concept and the finished product were accompanied by a complex and aggressive media relations effort.

Changing Lanes
CURRENTS Article Aided by advances in Internet and cell phone technology, "citizen" journalists are shaping the news like never before. But this new brand of journalism isn't dependent on tragic events or breaking news--blogs, podcasts, and more affect the gathering, transmission, and shaping of the news. This article examines these and other trends in journalism, including information on demand and audience fragmentation, and how they might affect education. This article does not include case studies or tips for navigating this new media landscape, but rather offers campus communications professionals serious food for thought.

AdvanceWork: The Paper Chase
CURRENTS Article Why do some institutions continue to publish paper media guides when journalists can access the same information from their Web sites? Campus communications and marketing professionals say they are sticking with print because paper guides provide easier access to information and can be used for institutional marketing and public relations purposes.

Meet the Prez
CURRENTS Article There are many reasons why CEOs want to get in front of journalists--the campus just survived a major crisis or is moving in a new direction, for example. As the people charged with making it happen, public relations pros should carefully plan visits with editorial boards and other media representatives to make the most of these important meetings. The author, a seasoned journalist, outlines several strategies for making such encounters as effective as possible, including timing, who to meet with, who to bring, and what to say.

Closing Remarks: Media Plan
CURRENTS Article Campuses increasingly face scrutiny from reporters and editorial boards amid one of the worst economic downturns academe ever has experienced. The quality of press coverage about education varies widely, and some news reports are simplistic, overly critical, or inaccurate. But rather than bash the media, campus leaders need to heed the new realities.

Living Publicly
CURRENTS Article A 24/7 news cycle, the Internet, an accountability revolution, and a smaller news hole are just a few of the factors changing campus media relations programs.

AdvanceWork: Prescription for Sanity
CURRENTS Article Unrealistic media expectations can plague CEOs, faculty, and advancement officers. This AdvanceWork item looks at four common problems and suggests strategies to solve them. It is of particular interest to media relations professionals.

Speaking Through the Media
CURRENTS Article When crucial issues such as public funding for higher education are being debated, the right media coverage can make an important difference in the attitudes of legislators and taxpayers. Media relations and government relations staff sometimes find working with reporters to be challenging. But the article includes numerous examples of institutions that have successfully reached out to legislators and the media on key issues.

Pressing Questions
CURRENTS Article An interview with Bob Durkee, former editor of the Princeton University student newspaper in the 1960s, now the university's vice president for public affairs, on the relationship between the campus administration and the student press. He discusses how the Internet has changed the role of student journalism, editorial and financial independence, and how student editors' interests and goals have changed over time.

Science Lessons
CURRENTS Article Public information officers often find themselves in the midst of controversy surrounding their institutions’ scientific research activities. That’s only one part of communicating science, however. Even though not every project will make headlines, PIOs must communicate important, complex research every day. Key to that task is establishing rapport with the scientists, presenting science to lay readers, and explaining why it’s important without overhyping.

September 11, 2001
CURRENTS Article The 2001 terrorist attack placed many demands on advancement offices. Institutions in New York City established command centers to manage communications and emergency response amid human loss and facility damage. Elsewhere, advancement professionals dealt with such tasks as reporting the status of alumni and parents, connecting campus experts with reporters, rescheduling alumni travel, rewriting magazine issues, and postponing or adjusting fund-raising calls.

A Crisis of Legendary Proportions
CURRENTS Article Simpson, vice president for public affairs at Indiana University, describes how IU’s communications team handled a six-month media firestorm over basketball coach Bob Knight. The team followed a predetermined crisis communications strategy that called for developing a media relations plan, establishing a single media spokesperson, maintaining open and continuous communications, and expecting the unexpected. Simpson also describes what his team learned from the experience.

All Elian, All the Time
CURRENTS Article For the University of Miami news media office, the Elian Gonzalez saga meant a crush of requests for interviews with faculty experts and the university president. The public relations staff found ways to handle the media frenzy judiciously and parlayed it into mentions in more than 1,500 news stories.

Tech Support: Is Your Web Site Media-Friendly?
CURRENTS Article Public relations staff should ensure that their media Web sites meet the needs of reporters and editors. The site should be easy to search and navigate and quick to download; content must be up to date, well organized, and simple to skim, with contact information integrated throughout.

The Court of Law vs. the Court of Public Opinion
CURRENTS Article The responsibilities of public relations officers can seem at odds with those of attorneys during a campus legal crisis. The lawyers want to limit release of information; PR staffers often need to get the story out to retain public confidence. But both groups share an interest in protecting the institution’s reputation, and can work together, starting from this common ground.

Cultivating the Benefit of the Doubt
CURRENTS Article One way to head off negative media attention is to develop a constructive relationship with the media. Communicators and campus leaders must look for opportunities to establish personal and intellectual capital with journalists and to build respect and trust. To do this: 1) Help reporters do their jobs by supplying helpful sources and responding quickly. 2) Join local journalists in supporting local charities, and also in supporting the field of journalism. 3) Become a leader in the community -- for example, by joining service clubs or volunteering for community projects.

AdvanceWork: When Professors Talk …
CURRENTS Article … reporters listen. A guide to institutional liability when faculty members speak out of line

Small Office: Maximizing Output
CURRENTS Article Two directors of small communications offices offer four strategies to help ensure staff productivity: 1) Strategize as a group in weekly planning sessions. 2) Establish credibility with the media by working with integrity and providing information quickly and accurately. 3) Train faculty members in media relations so that their efforts complement yours. 4) Streamline and recycle news releases by sending tip sheets via fax and e-mail, and by finding new angles for stories that aren't picked up on the first pitch.

AdvanceWork: He Said, She Said
CURRENTS Article Problem/Solution

Write-Minded: News Alert
CURRENTS Article A media advisory is a one-page, easy-to-digest notice designed to enable busy assignment editors and broadcast producers to evaluate an event's newsworthiness. PR consultant Sims offers these tips to construct a successful one: 1) If your event features several headliners, highlight the one most likely to interest the media outlet you're targeting. 2) Customize your headline and lead for the recip

Tech Support: Confessions of a ProfNet Junkie
CURRENTS Article Little, a public affairs director, describes his use -- and occasional overuse -- of ProfNet, an Internet service that enables public information officers to supply experts in response to reporters' queries. He offers tips to help ProfNet users make the most of the service: 1) Know your faculty members, their areas of expertise, and their comfort with the media. 2) Consider the commitment of time

AdvanceWork: News They Can Use
CURRENTS Article When Fariss Samarrai joined the University of Miami's office of media relations in spring 1993, one of his first projects was to organize a three-day workshop for reporters on the effects of hurricanes on the southeastern United States. Funded by case's Media Fellowship program, the workshop gave journalists access to the experts at the university's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

In Advance: Rules of Netiquette
CURRENTS Article When sending electronic mail messages to the press, remember to use a business style, don’t add the journalist to your mailing list without first asking permission, send attachments as plain text, keep track of responses, and consider if you would want your e-mail messages forwarded to others.

What Are We Doing Wrong?
CURRENTS Article In an interview with CURRENTS staff, Chronicle of Higher Education managing editor Scott Jaschik describes how those who cover the education beat approach sensitive issues like campus crime, or tuition costs, why journalists may feel thwarted by campus administrators in trying to cover these stories, and how providing more information may be beneficial to educational institutions in presenting an accurate picture of these often difficult situations. Specific examples of the types of information the media may want on various issues are presented.

In Advance: Just the Facts
CURRENTS Article Give a summary of all your facts—already verified, of course—to reporters in advance of an interview. Keep reporters "on message" during interviews. It won't hurt to restate the key facts—and you can cover yourself by asking reporters to verify they received your materials.

In Advance: So Many Clips, So Little Time
CURRENTS Article Tired of clipping newspaper articles about your campus? Tom Krattenmaker of Swarthmore College moved from a paper clipping service to an electronic method and cut his news surveillance costs by more than half. Here's how to do it.

Good Chemistry
CURRENTS Article Cornell University professor of science communications Lewenstein talks about the value of bringing scientists and public information officers together during his workshops. These workshops help reporters and scientists understand what the public wants and needs to know about science. In particular, it’s important to focus on providing the public a means to develop both a practical and civic science literacy. For the most part, Lewenstein finds that campuses do a good job of promoting scientific research news.

In Advance: Bring in the Reporters
CURRENTS Article Eight ways to draw journalists to your online press room—and keep them coming back for more

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