Conferences & Training
Program - Annual Conference for Media Relations Professionals


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Day 1, Monday, Sept. 18

NOON-12:45 PM

Setting the Stage and Learning Expectations
Join conference chair Stacey Schmeidel to meet the faculty and learn how to get the most out of your time at the conference.

Understanding—and Surviving—Today's Media Landscape
Who are today's media? How do they work? Why do they matter? Recent events -- globally, nationally, and on college and university campuses -- have revealed tremendous holes in our answers to these questions. Explore business, political and generation challenges to the conventional wisdom around media relations, and begin to chart a course to navigating media relations in today's fractured media climate.

Assessing and Shaping Resources to Get the Best Results
Is your team clear about their priorities and mission? Is your work generating the media and other results your institution needs? We'll discuss impact-oriented structures and strategies that make the most of the staff and budget you have to work with.

Creative Digital Storytelling and Media Relations
The way that audiences connect with and consume stories has changed drastically over the last decade. Anyone can create news, post updates, and become a go-to source. In this exercise, we'll explore how to own our stories and distribute them to the masses in appealing and, most importantly, sharable segments.

Communications and Campus Challenges
Speakers: Bill Burger, Middlebury College; Dan Mogulof, University of California Berkeley; and Bill Kissick, St. Paul's School
It could happen anywhere. From free speech to sexual assault, faculty misconduct to student misbehavior -- the past year has been one of intense media scrutiny around challenging campus issues. Hear from three professional who've managed these issues firsthand, with transparency and integrity.

Networking Reception
Join conference faculty and your colleagues to network and unwind after Day 1. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drink tickets will be provided. Don't forget your business cards!

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own or optional small group dinners; sign-up required

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Day 2, Tuesday, Sept. 19

7:30-8:30 AM
Continental Breakfast

Media Panel
Panelists: Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed; Melissa Korn, Wall Street Journal; Stacy Palmer, Chronicle of Philanthropy
Stacey Schmeidel
When it comes to coverage of higher education, what are the stories that catch the eye of reporters and editors who specialize in our world? How do we work together? What do we do when we disagree? You’ll see what our institutions look like from the lens of these well-respected reporters and editors and learn about trends they see for the future.

Storytelling in the New Media Landscape: How to Pitch Stories to Media Outlets
If press releases are today's dinosaurs, then it's time we all evolve and become master pitchers. Learn how to draft a pitch and make a match with a reporter or producer. Regardless of whether you're at a small school or a large research university, the session will allow you to think creatively, have some fun and reinforce that words matter and building relationships is key. Bring a pitch to share with colleagues in small-group discussion.

11:15 AM-12:15 PM
Working with Faculty on Media Relations
The work of our faculty and teachers is the core of our mission. This session will explore how to engage them as your most valuable allies in inspiring media interest, developing your audiences and communicating your institution's best stories.

Lunch On Your Own

Working with Your President (and Other Senior Leaders) on Media Relations
Increasingly leadership equates with transparency. Presidents are eager to write blogs, participate in media interviews, craft op-eds, and share their thought leadership on social media. Of course, these opportunities often come with their own set of challenges! This session will help you prepare your institution's leadership for the best opportunities -- and decline the opportunities that don't work to your advantage.

Mayday! Mayday! Social Media Crisis Management
It’s 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Then Twitter unleashes on you. There go your plans! During this session, we will explore social media crisis management, from crisis identification and communication through containment, resolution, and recovery. Learn how to put together your own social media crisis communication plan and how to maintain your cool when a social storm is brewing.

Best Practice in Crisis Communication
Planning is important -- and planning for a crisis is absolutely critical. When a campus crisis occurs, communications staff need to act immediately -- so it's important not only to have a plan, but to have a plan that's been shared, test, improved and approved. Does your institution have a solid crisis communications plan? What have you learned through writing and testing you plan? Let's talk about what's worked, what's missed, and what we would do differently if we could do it all over again.

End of Day Takeaways and Group Discussion

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own or optional small group dinners; sign-up required

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Day 3, Wednesday, Sept. 20

8:00-8:45 AM
Continental Breakfast

Measuring Return on Investment and Reach
Media professionals are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to measure reach. In this session, learn techniques for demonstrating the value of your media your and measuring the return on investment for your institution.

Media Relations Case Studies
It's all about "show don't tell" -- so let's practice what we preach. Join us for a discussion of three different media actions that worked -- and share your own feedback, experiences, and ideas.

11:00 AM-NOON
Sharing the Spotlight 
Large school, small school, public or private...we all can learn from each other. With a maximum of five minutes, conference participants (selected in advance) will share a media relations or communications case study with fellow attendees. This lightning round will feature successes, lessons learned, and advice and tips from your shop. Take the spotlight and share a best practice strategy or tactic from your institution.

Concluding Takeaways and Final Questions

Conference Adjourns

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Day 1 Day 2 Day 3