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Marketing & Public Relations

Media Guidelines for Employees


Image of reporters If a reporter from a newspaper, radio, or TV station calls and asks for a comment on a breaking story, here are some things to remember:

  • You are never “off the record.”

  • You don’t have to talk to them, but don’t say, “No comment,” as this can be interpreted to mean you know something but won’t tell them. Instead, say something like, “I don’t have enough information to talk about that issue” or words to that effect. You can refer them to the marketing staff and then promptly let the Marketing Department staff know who called and what they wanted.

  • You don’t have to talk to them at that moment. You may say, “I can’t address that issue right now, but I will call you back.” In this instance as well, notify the Marketing staff.

  • When you talk to a reporter, just answer the question directly. Don’t go on and on, even if the reporter pauses. This can be a technique to get you to say more than what is necessary. It is not a good idea to respond to hypothetical questions. Don’t simply agree with a reporter’s statement, unless it is entirely true. Don’t let reporters put words into your mouth. Give your own answer clearly.

  • Show the reporter how your story/program fits into the bigger picture, such as the North Central mission or national trends in higher education.

  • Don’t be surprised if the story doesn’t come out as you intended. Reporters are supposed to produce a balanced story and will look for someone who will say the opposite of what you say.