Working with Media

From UMaine University Relations & Marketing Manager, November 2010.

Due to shifts in communication technologies, such as social media, combined with a decrease in resources for many news outlets, University of Maine is continually changing the way it gets news and events to the media.

While we have many resources to offer to the media, please keep in mind that due to the overwhelming amount of information that gets submitted to media, a multifaceted approach is recommended. Traditionally, you would send out a page-long news release to your media contact and then it would get covered. Today, media is getting information from so many places, and have limited staff, so media outlets are faced with choosing from multiple topics every day. Because they have dwindling time and resources, we need to be very thoughtful and succinct about our approach. Also, keep in mind relationships still play a key role.

It is recommended you keep local media relationship strong by checking in with them at least once a year on how they would like to receive information and in what format.

We as an organization currently make sure our news is distributed out in multiple platforms such as targeted information to lists and utilizing social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos). Please keep in mind that short and simple is best. At times a two-page “news release” can be interpreted as too much information and your audience (media) may lose interest.

How can you help? Is your information an event or news?

Recommendations below:

Events (have a specific date)

  • Submit all events to the UMaine calendar at calendar.umaine.edu. The Webmaster and others pull events from the calendar to promote them in venues such as social media and more. We check the calendar daily for updates.
  • If your event is local, distribute information about it to your local media.
  • If you are wanting to develop a press release, please work with your Program Administrator to be clear about the intention of the release, timeliness, and the target audience. Then work with Dana Rickman, at dana.rickman@maine.edu, who will shepherd the release through the appropriate staff within the UMaine Department of Marketing and Communication. Dana will get back to you with the approved release and UMaine Marketing and Communications will post the release.
  • If the media are interested, they will follow up with you directly for more information. If they do ask for any additional promotional material and you send it to them as an e-mail attachment, please make sure they have the ability to open it. What might work best is just putting information in the e-mail or providing a link to up-to-date information.
  • Many media outlets and targeted local venues also have online calendar/event submission forms that you can submit directly too.

Event Template

News

If you are wanting to develop a press release, please work with your Program Administrator to be clear about the intention of the release, timeliness, and the target audience. Then work with Dana Rickman, at dana.rickman@maine.edu, who will shepherd the release through the appropriate staff within the UMaine Department of Marketing and Communication. Dana will get back to you with the approved release and UMaine Marketing and Communications will post the release.

If you are submitting a local news story to your local media, please copy Dana Rickman to keep her aware of your efforts.

What is the story angle or news? The press won’t bite without it.

The following are some questions to consider:

  1. What’s newsworthy about your event?
  2. Do one of your customers/students have an interesting story?
  3. Is there something currently relevant about your work or research? Ex. Warm weather in winter.

Contacting Local Media

Make it part of at least a yearly update to connect with your local media. Why not give them a call and provide an opportunity to meet with them, send them information about who University of Maine Cooperative Extension is, or refresh them on current initiatives?

  • Find out if an introductory meeting would be helpful.
  • Find out if they would like to receive updates and in what format. Keep in mind, if they are not aware already, you can refer media to University of Maine Cooperative Extension Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.edu sites for more information as well. These social media sites are updated frequently with current news and timely events.
  • Ask questions like:
    • What length works best for information they receive? Prefer stories, or brief items?
    • If they would like to receive information, what timeframe works best for them to receive updates from you?
    • Would they like to be part of your executive committee or know someone who may?

Questions

If you have any questions please contact Dana Rickman at dana.rickman@maine.edu. Thank you.