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Media Training

MaC can provide small group workshops to help faculty members and others in the campus community become more effective and comfortable with the news media. To schedule a private or group media training session, please email UNCW News.

students with camera

Media Relations: For the Campus Community

Whether you have UNCW news you want the public to know about or you need guidance about talking to a reporter, the university relations media relations team is here to help.

The Office of University Relations seeks to generate media coverage that will enhance the image of UNCW. UR is responsible for releasing all university news (except from athletics); placing stories in local, regional and national media outlets; and arranging media coverage of events and programs.

We invite you to contact us with information about research, programs, issues, people and events you feel are newsworthy. We will work with you to determine the appropriate audience for your message or craft the appropriate message for your audience.

While we can’t promise media coverage of every event or program, we will assess the newsworthiness of activities and, depending on the story and timing, may do one of the following:

  • Write a story for @UNCW, the university’s internal publication
  • Write and distribute a news release
  • “Pitch” the story to a reporter or producer
  • Promote the story as part of a trend (something happening in higher education across the state, for example)
  • Include it in on a media advisory “tip sheet”

Staff will consult with you on how to get publicity, what is news, how to work with the media and how your news helps to build the positive image of the university.

What to do when a reporter calls

Following are some general guidelines to help you get ready for and respond to a reporter's questions. When contacted by the media, call the UR office at 910.962.3861.

Gather basic details

  • Write down the reporter's name, media outlet, phone number and story deadline.
  • Ask what the story will be about and how the interview will be used.
  • If TV or radio is calling, inquire about the interview format (live, taped, etc.).
  • If you're the appropriate expert but aren't prepared to talk, set a later time, but respect the reporter's deadline. Even 15 minutes will help you get ready.
  • If you're not the best expert, refer the reporter to someone who is, or contact MaC.
  • Contact MaC and let them know about the inquiry and the actions taken.

Prepare for the interview

  • Take a few minutes to write down the brief message(s) you want to convey.
  • Avoid technical jargon, use lay terms.
  • Make sure your points are clear and succinct.
  • Be ready to support your message with a few examples and facts.
  • Keep in mind what the public needs to know, and how the topic affects people's lives.
  • Anticipate tough questions the reporter might ask.
  • Practice delivering your message(s).
  • Speak with authority, clarity, energy.
  • Offer brief background on the subject at hand if the reporter seems to need it.
  • Assume everything you say is on the record, from the time you meet or talk with the reporter until he or she leaves the room or hangs up.
  • Speak with authority and energy, particularly for TV or radio interviews.
  • State your position in positive terms, even if a reporter's questions turn negative or sound loaded.
  • If the reporter's questions veer off track, politely steer the interview back to your message(s).
  • If you're not sure the reporter understood your main points, ask him or her to repeat them.

Additional tips for when a broadcast reporter calls

Broadcast media need prior permission to film inside buildings on campus or to
film anyone who would easily be identified on television.

What's newsworthy?

Not sure whether your news would interest the media? MaC media relations is happy to provide guidance. We're always interested in hearing about:

  • Research findings - The media is most interested in your research breakthrough if it will impact or interest the general public. Reporters also pay more attention to peer-reviewed work about to be published in a journal or presented at a conference or government hearing.
  • Well-known campus visitors - UNCW draws famous individuals each year to speak at special gatherings including conferences, lectures and graduation ceremonies. Prominent scholars also spend time teaching on campus; let us know if you're about to host such a visitor.
  • Major announcements - Let Media Relations know if a faculty member or student has received an important award or if your department has acquired a significant gift or grant.
  • Events - The campus calendar is filled with events throughout the year, but certain ones -- especially those on newsy or otherwise fascinating topics -- would catch a reporter's eye. We can help attract coverage of such events.
  • Human interest stories - Reporters are always interested in a good human interest story, whether it's about an extraordinary person or project. We're always interested in stories about students and their one-of-a-kind contributions to UNCW and the community.
  • Unique new courses - As each new semester is about to begin, Media Relations looks for unique new courses – whether they're tied to current events, are trendy, or would simply be fun for the public to read about – to pass along to reporters.

Selecting the best tool for communication

MaC will consider the following ways of contacting the media when choosing the best media tools for your news:

  • Press release - Our traditional format for releasing news. The press release is usually less than a page in length, preferably no more than three paragraphs written as a news story. A release can include quotes from the source(s), gives context to the news being reported and preferably includes details about interview and visual opportunities for reporters.
  • Media advisory - A one-page alert that simply tells the media the "who, what, when and where" of an event. Advisories often are used to announce press conferences, research demonstrations, campus ceremonies and other newsworthy events.
  • Expert list - UR keeps a running list of campus experts willing to speak to reporters on various issues. When new breaks, we e-mail information about specific experts to reporters.
  • Press conference - Press conferences at UNCW usually are reserved for major announcements, such as the naming of a new chancellor, a Nobel Prize or a groundbreaking for a new building.
  • Tip - We often contact select reporters or TV producers by phone or email to tip them off to a particular story idea or campus expert. A news tip also is used when reporters must be alerted quickly and there is no time for other forms of communication.

Get your editorial published

  • Do you have expertise on a timely topic, or an opinion to share with the public about a current event? Here are some general guidelines for writing opinion-editorials:
  • Make sure your op-ed is about an issue that is currently in the news. Submit it immediately to ensure your comments are timely..
  • Choose a newspaper to target and learn its policies. UR staff can help. Many papers, for example, won't accept op-eds longer than 600 words and require an exclusive submission.
  • Confidently state your opinion, back it up with fresh facts and end with a brief conclusion.
  • If you e-mail your manuscript, don't send an attachment. Many media outlets won't open it.
  • Include a short biographical description of yourself.

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