Montana State University
University Communications > MSU News Service > Frequently Asked Questions

MSU News

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172220
Bozeman, MT 59717-2220

Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I know if my event/news should have a press release?
2. How do I get a press release prepared?
3. How do I get photographic coverage of my event?
4. How can I get a copy of your media lists?
5. Are there guidelines for how I'm supposed to conduct my media affairs?
6. What should I do if the media contacts me about a story/interview?
7. How do I inform communications specialists about media opportunities in my unit?
8. How do I get a story on the MSU Home page?
9. How can I find that story/press release I saw some time ago on the Web?
10. Can I use a photo that I saw with the Web story?
11. What is the MSU Expert List and how do I get onto it?
12. How do I submit items to MSU Today--Campus News?

1. How do I know if my event/news should have a press release?
The university is always looking for ways to promote our programs, accomplishments and messages to the public. Our news staff is expert at finding niches where events or news items may be picked up by the media. Certainly there are some events that have little news value, but you should always contact a media specialist for advice. The successful placement of any topic in the media is often hard to predict and even simple stories may be of interest to some of our audiences. In order to make it easier to apprise us of these events, please e-mail the assistant director of the MSU News Service, Anne Cantrell at (406) 994-4902 or e-mail anne.cantrell@montana.edu.
2. How do I get a press release prepared?
The first step is to inform us of the event. After we help you identify the validity of the story and the recommended channels for its distribution, we will prepare a release for distribution accordingly. Our editors are expert at crafting releases for best exposure. Although suggestions are often helpful when developing the release, and fact checking is paramount, our editors will provide the final editorial responsibility.
3. How do I get photographic coverage of my event?
If you are interested in photographic coverage of an event for news coverage, please contact MSU News Service at 994-5134 or by e-mail at kelly.gorham@montana.edu. Please allow adequate lead-time to make these arrangements. Also, please note that due to limited resources, these services are provided on a part-time basis, and it may not be possible to cover every event.
4. How can I get a copy of your media lists?
We do not release our media lists. This is a standard practice by most news organizations. Considerable energy and effort goes into developing and maintaining these lists, as well as the network of news colleagues and contacts they represent. These resources are protected out of regard for these relationships. Anyone may develop his/her own list from public resources and by establishing his/her own contacts. But the use of our lists must be through our staff writers.
5. Are there guidelines for how I'm supposed to conduct my media affairs?
Yes. There is an MSU Media Policy with contains guidance for how to conduct media affairs. The overarching intent of this policy is to ensure consistent, coordinated media communications that benefit the university by helping promote our mission and key messages. It is also important to make sure that university administrators are adequately informed about media communications and affairs. You are strongly encouraged to review this policy prior to engaging in media programs.
6. What should I do if the media contacts me about a story/interview?
There are procedure and suggestions in the MSU Media Policy for dealing with media contacts. These may be useful for conducting your interview. You may also request the assistance of the media specialists listed in the policy. They may be able to provide specific guidance about a recommended approach to a particular topic or interview. There are several media specialists representing different areas of the university.

In some cases it may not be possible to anticipate a media contact in advance. It is often very helpful to share the details of your contact with University Communications, however minor it may have seemed. Coordinating media communications and responses is a high priority for this office and your notification will be useful. You may do this by calling the assistant director of the MSU News Service, Carol Schmidt at (406) 994-1966 or e-mail cschmidt@montana.edu.


7. How do I inform communications specialists about media opportunities in my unit?
We are always looking for story ideas and communications opportunities for the media. We encourage everyone to report any possibilities for these in their area to the staff writer who covers that area of campus. All of the university's media specialists are listed with contact information in the MSU Media Policy. You may also submit suggestions to the assistant director of the MSU News Service Carol Schmidt at (406) 994-1966 or cschmidt@montana.edu, or to assistant director of the MSU News Service Anne Cantrell at (406) 994-4902 or anne.cantrell@montana.edu.
8. How do I get a story on the MSU Home page?
News on the MSU home page is managed by the MSU News Service. You may submit suggestions for stories to any of the media specialists listed in the MSU Media Policy.

The MSU News Group will consider all suggestions and evaluate them for this column. The decision to feature a story usually results in its assignment to a writer for development. As with any publication, there are specific guidelines the group follows for subject matter, content and style that must be met. The MSU News Group does not generally publish articles prepared by others verbatim. In instances where fully developed writing may be provided, the managing editor of MSU in the News reserves the right to edit these for publication.


9. How can I find that story/press release I saw some time ago on the Web?
The MSU News Service SEARCH feature allows you to do a focused keyword search through the news related portions of our Web site. By selecting these options you may find previous Web stories and/or press releases. This is particularly useful if significant time has passed since story appeared. If it has been more recent, you may also browse the University News Archive.
10. Can I use a photo that I saw with the Web story?
The photos that appear on our Web pages are not automatically available for reuse by others. In many cases we have obtained special permission to use these photos for our Web publication only. In addition, our versions of these photos are usually quite small and have been optimized for low-resolution on the Web, and do not lend themselves to other uses. You should contact Kelly Gorham, university photographer, kelly.gorham@montana.edu regarding any requests for photo reuse.
11. What is the MSU Expert List and how do I get onto it?
The News Service maintains an MSU Expert List of faculty and staff who are willing to be interviewed by the media for expert commentary on various topics. This directory is organized by expertise areas and is published on our Web site. If you would like to be considered for inclusion in this resource, you should fill-out our online Faculty Staff Questionnaire. University News editors will review your data and then determine the appropriate fit for the guide. All potential interviewees are encouraged to review our MSU Media Policy prior to conducting any media interview.
12. How do I submit items to MSU Today--Information for Faculty and Staff?
Click here to submit an event to be considered for the calendar, website and email.
Click here to submit an announcement to be considered for the website and email.
For more information or to submit comments, contact MSU News Service, at (406) 994-4571 or msutoday@montana.edu.


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