Public Relations & Media Relations
In order to ensure our continued good relationship with the media and to further media contacts, the Office of University Relations should be the first and primary contact with the media. Most reporters call the Office of University Relations when they need information or are seeking an expert for a story. They know that they will be referred to the proper source of information quickly and with respect for their deadlines.
In most cases, the media will contact UR directly and we will contact you to set up either a telephone or in-person interview. If a reporter should contact you directly, we would prefer that you ask him/her if he/she has contacted the Office of University Relations first. If they haven't, please notify the reporter that, in the future, all initial contacts should be made through our office. You may continue to talk to the reporter, but please follow up as soon as possible with a phone call to the Office of University Relations at ext. 5105 to let us know that a media contact was made, the identity of the reporter, and the subject matter of the interview. It is important that we keep track of all media calls, especially since we may be working with another media source on the same story.
If you are contacted directly by the media, please try to respond to the reporter within 30 minutes whenever possible. If you are unable to contact the reporter, or do not feel comfortable doing so, please contact the Office of University Relations with the reporter's name immediately, and we will handle the inquiry and, if necessary, arrange a time for the reporter to interview you or another person. In addition, we'll provide you with as much information as possible, including what the story is about and questions you might expect. However, if the media directly contacts you regarding a crisis situation, please do not give the reporter any information, but rather refer him/her to the Office of University Relations. In these situations, the campus' crisis communication policy will be put into effect.
Media contacts may take as little as a few minutes to more than an hour for major stories. Media interviews can be enjoyable and rewarding. Ultimately, your goal is to publicize Penn State Altoona and its achievements as well as enhance your personal reputation. Remember, a young reporter from a small newspaper may one day be a senior editor at The New York Times.Keep in mind:
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH THE MEDIA
Please respond promptly to all media requests, even if it is to decline or to refer the caller to the Office of University Relations. Reporters are usually under very tight deadlines and a delay of a day, or even an hour, can mean the difference between favorable coverage or a lost opportunity or negative relationship with a reporter. Your courtesy will help Penn State Altoona now and in the future.
Appearing on television or radio
Preparation is key to a successful television interview. Most television spots focus on short snapshots rather than in-depth interviews. Follow these additional tips:
Getting publicity for your programs and news
If you have information about an upcoming program or something that you believe is newsworthy, please contact the Director of University Relations. However, remember that not all information is news. Each potential story will be evaluated by the Office of University Relations staff to determine interest among the media. We pride ourselves on sending the media only legitimate news stories, well-written and delivered in a timely manner. We enjoy a positive working relationship with area media partly due to our credibility in this regard.
Once we have identified a story, the Office of University Relations will determine the best way to disseminate the news. This may include:
News releases are sent to local media and, depending upon the nature of the story, regional news, national news, and specialized periodicals and newsletters. Information should be submitted to us at least two weeks prior to the event and should include the name of the event, date, time, locations, cost, telephone number for more information, a short description of the event, and other pertinent information. Make sure that you check the spelling of names and titles. Don't worry about using the correct news release format—we'll take care of that for you. We will write the release in the style that reporters and editors prefer and can use.
Please keep in mind that we cannot control what the newspapers print or what the television or radio stations choose to cover. The chance for coverage is greatly increased when sufficient lead time is given to us for the story. When news releases are sent, we have no idea or control as to if or when the story will run. The choice of whether or not to cover the story is made by the editor of the newspaper, publication, or station.
Remember that news information can be disseminated through channels other than the mass media, such as the Penn State Altoona magazine, Ivy Leaf, on-line faculty and staff information, located at Penn State Altoona NOW: For Faculty & Staff, Penn State Live, and various student newspapers such as Penn State Altoona's Collegiate Review and the University's Daily Collegian and Newswire.
Faculty & Staff Information on Penn State Altoona NOW
The "For Faculty & Staff" section of NOW serves the campus community by sharing information about campus events, programs, awards, and news. Different features of the section include:
Accepted content is restricted to Penn State Altoona related news and professional accomplishments related to one's job.
One way to get our name out into the community is through advertising. UR develops, places, and funds a number of printed advertisements in a variety of publications, including newspapers, specialized periodicals, program booklets, area visitor's guides, and more.
The advertisements funded by UR are institutional-based ads that promote Penn State Altoona generally, and some degree-specific advertisements. However, UR is more than happy to assist other departments and divisions in designing and placing their specific advertisements.
Please contact the Graphic Designer/Marketing Coordinator if you would like to utilize this service.
Please remember that, per Penn State Policy, the Penn State Altoona mark must be included in all Penn State Altoona advertisements.