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Type: University Policy
Division: Governance
Office: GOVERNANCE & LEGAL

Contact Phone Number: 503-838-8809
Contact Email Address: hagemannr@wou.edu

TITLE
Public Relations/Media Relations
POLICY NUMBER
GL-01-003
RESPONSIBLE OFFICER UNIVERSITY CONTACT
Vice President and General Counsel Office of the General Counsel
SUMMARY

This policy helps to ensure the university is represented with consistent messages and with one clear voice to all of its publics, both internal and external. 

The Public Relations Office offers and coordinates services to enhance the visibility and to accurately project the key messages and image of Western Oregon University through the judicious use of a variety of communications. These include news and feature releases, publications, the website, coordinated outreach activities, and prompt response to media queries. The office is responsible for the university’s academic identity standards. Areas of public relations emphasis and thematic approaches in publication correspond with the university’s mission and goals. 

APPLICABLE TO
WOU campus community
DEFINITIONS
AUTHORITY
FULL STATEMENT OF AUTHORITY

POLICY STATEMENT

The Public Relations Office (PR) is the official source of information for media representatives. All news releases on behalf of the university are issued by that office. 

1. Cultural events (arts, music, theatre, lectures) and student-sponsored events open to the public are publicized by the office of public relations, working in coordination with a designated person within each area. 

2. The information function is coordinated with members of the administration when media request information on (a) questions of policy or issues for which a spokesperson has been designated; (b) questions for which a university response has been prepared; (c) responses that require two or more university sources; and (d) campus safety reports. 

3. In the event of a news story, from a minor negative happening to a rumor to a true crisis* situation, it is the job of public relations to: 

• coordinate the flow of information to the media and concerned publics; 

• assist university officials in preparing public statements, and 

• assure that public information is made available accurately and in a timely manner. 

4. In the event that other university officials are not available for comment, the director of public relations serves as the designated university spokesperson. 

*A crisis is an unforeseen critical event, violent or non-violent, caused by nature, by accidents or by deliberate acts, about which the media and the public will expect information. 

 

PROCEDURES

In dealing with the news media, anyone is free to speak with the media at any time, except as noted in the policy above during a crisis* situation or about sensitive information. We ask that you contact PR so we may:

• provide advice and/or assistance if you would like, 

• answer the media query on your behalf if you wish, 

• or follow up with the reporter to provide additional information/photos/etc. 

1. Plans for publicizing events should include contact with PR three to four weeks in advance. 

2. Contact with the media will be initiated by PR to assure coordination of information. 

3. When university personnel receive an inquiry from the media, responses should be coordinated with PR. Obtain the reporter’s name, publication or station represented, phone number, nature of inquiry. 

4. Refer media calls to PR when inquiries pertain to university policy, questions to which an official response has been prepared, or responses that require coordination among two or more administrative units. 

5. Respond to media inquiries in a timely fashion by contacting the public relations office immediately or by returning a call to a reporter if it is appropriate to respond as noted above, and then letting PR know. 

6. University faculty and staff should make clear to the media when not speaking in an official capacity. 

No employee is under any obligation to speak to members of the media and may always refer calls to the public relations office. If you wish to respond, it’s always best to give yourself some time to think through your response by telling the reporter you will call back in a specified amount of time…and then honoring that time frame. If a reporter pressures you with a deadline, that still entitles you to take a breath and call back or refer the call. If you do not wish to respond, please inform the PR office. It is not good practice to simply ignore a media query. 

REFERENCED OR RELATED POLICIES
RELEVANT DOCUMENTS AND LINKS
HISTORY
APPROVAL DATE:
EFFECTIVE DATE:
LAST UPDATED: 11/28/2005

HISTORICAL DETAIL NOTES:

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SOURCE:    Previously Referred to as: DIA-PR-001
FOR POLICY WEBSITE INPUT (public audience keyword search)
PR, media, reports