How to work with the media

The Office of University Media Relations promotes faculty experts to local and national media every day, and responds to queries that range from obscure topics to breaking news. If you are an expert on a newsworthy topic and/or would like to be added to our Experts Guide, contact Elaine Justice or Megan McRainey in the Office of University Media Relations.

If you need help - ask. If you receive a call from a reporter and have any questions or concerns about how to respond, contact Elaine Justice or Megan McRainey.

Don't feel rushed. If a reporter calls and you are not prepared to talk, schedule the interview for a more convenient time. But remember, media deadlines are very tight and many reporters will need responses within hours.

Identify the reporter. If you agree to an interview, make a note of the reporter's name, media outlet and contact information. If you have any doubts about the reporter's identity, contact the Office of University Media Relations. Many media queries come through our office, where we are able to find appropriate experts. Faculty also are contacted independently of us. Let media relations staff know when you’ve been contacted by media.

Decide what you want to say. Interviews are valuable opportunities to communicate your expertise and research, and educate the public on the benefits of your research or expand general knowledge on a particular topic. Decide what you want to communicate in two or three message points, and provide examples to illustrate each one.

Give simple, direct answers. Be brief. Reporters are likely to use short quotes, clips or sound bites. Avoid jargon and explain the topic as simply as possible. Avoid being flippant or sarcastic, since such comments can be taken out of context.

Prepare for difficult questions. Anticipate difficult questions and prepare responses. Never say, "No comment." Instead, explain why you can't or won't answer the question.

Nothing is "off the record." Assume that anything you say to a reporter or a correspondent will end up in print, on the radio or on TV. Nothing is ever off the record.

Fact checking. Reporters are unlikely to let you review a story before it's published or aired, but you can ask to verify specific information or quotes.

Give feedback. If a reporter makes a factual error, call him or her and ask for a correction. If you have any questions about corrections, contact the Office of University Media Relations.