When faculty and staff members are asked to comment or provide information on an institutional question or an issue that relates to the entire institution, the reporter should be referred to the Office of Media and Public Relations. The staff will refer the reporter to the appropriate source for comment.
When a member of the news media contacts a faculty or staff member to comment on a topic that is within an employee’s area of expertise (e.g., about a faculty member’s academic research or area of academic specialization), the employee may answer questions immediately, if so desired. However, if the faculty or staff member prefers to give some thought to the questions before answering, or if she/he has questions about the interview and how to respond, the Media and Public Relations office recommends the employee take the reporter’s telephone number, inquire about the reporter’s deadline, and return the call later. Faculty or staff faced with this situation may then contact the Media and Public Relations office at (540) 654-1055. A member of the staff will be glad to share information about the reporter, the angle the story is likely to take, other stories the reporter may be researching or writing at the time, and any other background information that may be helpful in advance of the interview. While media representatives often work under deadlines, they sometimes can email questions in advance, and a few may be willing to read direct quotes back to a source.
While it is optional for a faculty or staff member to contact the Office of Media and Public Relations prior to talking with a reporter about the employee’s area of expertise, it is very important that the Media and Public Relations office be notified immediately after the faculty or staff member has spoken with a reporter. Staff members monitor and track the progress of all UMW-related stories in order to help reporters find sources and gather facts. Knowing to whom a reporter has talked will assist in the tracking process, and it allows the office to provide the reporter with all pertinent information. In addition, an archive of published news stories about the University of Mary Washington is maintained by the Media and Public Relations office, and daily news articles are sent to members of the Board of Visitors and other key groups.