Guidelines for Dealing With News Media Policy

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Category Name: Administration and Operations
Responsible Unit: College Communications
Responsible VP: Vice President for University Relations
Adoption Date: Unavailable 
Last Revision Date: 2020-08-03
Last Review Date:
Shared governance: none

Policy Statement

Employees of the College are in occasional contact with news media representatives carrying out their information-gathering tasks. Because the range of information sought in these contacts is so wide, no set of guidelines can cover every possible situation. This statement deals, nevertheless, with some principles and suggested procedures, which are intended to facilitate the free flow of information and to ensure an accurate response to the news media's questions.

Purpose/Scope

The College, as a public-supported institution of higher education, has significant responsibilities of accountability in reporting to the citizens of New York State. In large part, this reporting process takes place through the news media. The College has an obligation to cooperate with the news media.

Applicability

Definitions

There are no definitions for this policy at this time.

Policy Procedures

The President, as chief administrative officer of the College, is the principal spokesperson for SUNY Brockport. In most cases, they have delegated this responsibility to the Office of College Communications.

In dealing with news media, employees should make a clear distinction between their role as a College employee, their role as a recognized authority in a given field and their role as a private citizen.

Inquiries about College-related matters should normally be routed through the Office of College Communications. The Office either responds directly to inquiries, or refers the news media to the appropriate College employee, if that employee is willing to deal with the news media. Whenever possible, the Office will give adequate, prior notice to an office or individual that may be contacted by the news media.

Questions dealing with College policy or with complex college matters involving more than one area should be referred to the Office of College Communications.

News media inquiries should be answered as promptly as possible. Media deadlines are usually very tight. Stories will normally not be held awaiting a specific response.

SUGGESTED PROCEDURES

1. If the news media should contact you directly and you are in doubt about responding to the subject of inquiry, contact the Office of College Communications for guidance.

2. Confine your responses to matters about which you have direct knowledge. Passing on information which "you have heard about," "you understand to be the case," or "you were told by someone who ought to know" can often lead to difficulties.

3. Decline to answer specific questions which involve College policy, complex inter-area matters and questions which cannot be answered with first-hand knowledge. The agreement to be interviewed does not imply the obligation to answer every question posed.

4. When you agree to be interviewed, you are "on the record." To say, "this is off the record," does not take you off the record unless the reporter agrees. The same applies to "not for attribution" and other such screens.

5. During or immediately after an interview, it is a sound idea to make a few notes on your responses. Another technique to avoid misunderstanding is to ask the reporter to repeat back to you his/her notes and understanding of your comments. If you believe that considerable caution is required, ask the reporter to give you his/her questions. Develop your answers in writing; then make contact with the reporter and read your responses. This is a rather extreme, but secure, method of avoiding misquotation.

6. When taking part in a radio or television interview, don't let the "live" tape recorder or television camera rush you into responding to a difficult question. If a "dead spot" occurs, that is the reporter's problem. Don't hesitate to decline to answer a question, if you believe it may involve areas already mentioned in these guidelines as inappropriate for you to answer. A simple, "I am not able to respond to that question," or "I don't know," is adequate and to the point.

Links to Related Procedures and Information

There are no links for this policy at this time.

Contact Information

Vice President for University Relations

History (in descending order)

Item Date Explanation
Next Review Date August 3, 2023 Three year review
Revision Date August 3, 2020 Corrected dept names and added contact information and Cabinet approval
Adoption Date Unavailable  Policy Adopted
Draft Review Date Not applicable Draft Policy under 30-day Campus Review

Approval

This policy is approved by:

President's Cabinet

August 3, 2020

Last Updated 10/27/20

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