Media Relations

Policies

Introduction

Florida Atlantic University is committed to working proactively with the press in order to maintain positive, productive relationships with the professionals who report the news via newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the web media. Positive relationships with the press are developed and enhanced by providing honest and helpful information to reporters, in a timely manner and in an atmosphere of mutual respect and candor.

Purpose

1.) To ensure that FAU's institutional policies, positions and responses are accurately and effectively communicated through interviews, news releases and news conferences.

2.) To outline and clarify the guidelines that have been established at FAU for dealing with the press. These guidelines include measures to follow when approached by representatives from the media as well as steps to make in submitting appropriate news material to the media. It is the responsibility of each vice president, dean and department head to implement procedures to comply with this policy.

Policy

The Media Relations Department is officially designated by the Office of the President as the University's liaison with press outlets and is responsible for planning and coordinating the University's media efforts.

A. It is FAU's desire to maintain an attitude of openness with the press.

1. Personnel in all departments and areas should feel free to respond to questions posed by the media concerning their departments or areas. If they are concerned about speaking with the media or with formulating a response, they should contact Media Relations for assistance.

2. Questions raised by the press about an area other than the one an employee represents or about the University in general should be referred to the Media Relations Department.

3. In order to avoid confusion or duplication of effort and to assist the University in building strong relationships with the press, employees are requested to notify Media Relations of contacts with or interviews by media representatives.

B. The proper procedure to release information to the media is to go through the Media Relations Department, the official source of information for media representatives. (Note: The release of information as related to public information requests is covered in Section G of this policy.)

1. All news releases are issued by Media Relations, unless a special arrangement has been made.

2. The release of information about University athletic programs and athletes is the responsibility of the sports information director.

C. The Media Relations Department makes the final decision regarding the newsworthiness of a potential story. The Department is able to assist other departments with discussion on how to make a story more attractive to the press so that it may obtain the greatest amount of news coverage.

D. When a formal request for information is made of the University by the press, the Media Relations Department will contact members of the University community to respond to that request.

E. Upon receiving an interview request from the media, Media Relations will contact the communications officer for the particular college or unit involved, or, in the case of a unit that does not have a communications contact, selected faculty or staff members. It is strongly encouraged that faculty and staff agree to be interviewed, as they have the expertise to provide valuable information for the press while raising FAU's profile in the news media.

F. If a member of the media is observed on campus, the Media Relations Department should be contacted to allow staff to assist the individual.

G. FAU, as a public university, has a responsibility to be open and responsive to information requests from the public and the press. The University is committed to a policy of openness, honesty and cooperation. FAU adheres to state regulations on public records, which define the parameters of legal access to information by the media and others.

1. If a public information request by the press is received, contact the Media Relations Department as soon as possible in order to begin the process of replying to that request in a timely manner.

2. The Media Relations Department will work with the General Counsel's Office to ensure that state regulations are followed in responding to all public information requests.

3. Florida Atlantic University follows the Cost Recovery Policy of the Office of the Governor.

H.  Official University social media sites may be developed in an effort to provide detailed and personalized information on a specific unit's programs and activities and to foster interatction among interested parties.  For more assistance with social media issues, please contact the communications officer in your unit or University Marketing & Creative Services

1. No confidential or proprietary information about the University or its students, faculty, staff or alumni shall be posted on a social media site.   Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination.

2. All applicable laws, regulations and University policies must be strictly adhered to, including without limitation, those pertaining to copyright and intellectual property rights, employee or student conduct, use of University resources, information and data, student privacy, and NCAA rules and regulations.

3. The following disclaimer should be added to all University sites: "Please note that content shared or posted may be subject to Florida's Public Records Law."

4. A permanent link to the official University website (www.fau.edu) must be included on all University sites.

5. No single unit's social media site represents the University as a whole. Consider this when naming pages and accounts and selecting profile pictures or icons such that it clearly specifies the University unit being represented.

6. University units that have one or more social media pages or would like to start one should contact University Marketing & Creative Services or the communications officer assigned to that division or college.

7. Social media websites on behalf of University units should be kept up to date. Sites that are not kept current may be de-activated.

8. The University name, logo or trademarks may not be used on personal social media pages or sites or to endorse a product or support a cause, political or otherwise.

Procedures

A. When approached by a representative from the press, the following guidelines apply:

1. If the issue relates to one's own area of expertise, one should feel free to respond. Responses to media inquiries should occur in a timely fashion. As a courtesy and to ensure successful communications, the responder or appropriate department head should notify the Media Relations Department about the conversation.

2. If questions are raised regarding issues about which one is not informed, it is acceptable to state, "I don't know, but someone will get back to you regarding that issue." Contact the Media Relations Department to route the reporter to the most knowledgeable information source.

3. Issues of a sensitive nature might best be answered with a statement prepared in cooperation with Media Relations and the department involved. Contact Media Relations to discuss options in situations of this kind.

4. When contacted by a reporter, one should be aware that:

a. Anything said can be quoted.
b. When called by telephone unexpectedly, one can ask for time to prepare a response.
c. If asked in advance for an interview, one should ask what questions he/she will be expected to answer or what topic is expected to be discussed.

B. When a person or department desires to release information to the media, the proper procedure is to do so through the appropriate communications officer or the Media Relations Department.  Note, there are various tools that may be used to communicate to the press.  Examples of these tools include a press release, media advisory, calendar release or post event release.  Plans for publicizing events should include contact with Media Relations at least three weeks in advance.  Media Relations strongly encourages all faculty and staff to contact their communications officer or the Media Relations Department with ideas for possible stories that can be shared with the press.

C. Media Relations should take the lead role in arranging news conferences, including making the decision as to whether a news conference is warranted. This will help ensure that the press is contacted and that the time and place of the news conference will encourage the best possible news coverage.

D. In a crisis situation, contact your supervisor and the Department of Media Relations. If media interest is anticipated, the administrator, in turn, will notify the assistant vice president for media relations or his/her representative. All official statements, announcements or interviews relating to the emergency will be coordinated through the Department of Media Relations. A person will be designated as the spokesperson for media inquiries. Other efforts will be coordinated as the crisis communications plan directs.

E. The Department of Media Relations is available to assist in the creation of letters to the editor or op/ed pieces, if such assistance is desired.

F. The Media Relations Department has created an Experts Database tool that serves as a source for the press and community at large to search for FAU experts by either name or subject area.  All faculty and selected staff are encouraged to sign up to be a member of the database.  Please note, the Experts Database also allows for members of the FAU community to become part of the University's speaker's bureau. 

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 Last Modified 4/9/13