Montana State University

News Guidelines


Routine News Items

New Faculty/Staff Hires

The MSU News Service will forward briefs on new faculty and staff hires to the MSU Today Web site and the "People in Education" section of the Sunday Bozeman Daily Chronicle. These briefs can also be published on departmental and/or college web sites and in departmental and/or college newsletters. They also may be used in other college-based communications.

For use by the News Service, the briefs should be one paragraph in length and include such details as the person's name, title, department and/or college, general duties and previous position.

Media announcements of administrative appointments at a dean's level or higher generally will be handled by the MSU news staff and distributed to relevant news media.

Faculty/Staff Retirements

Retirements, even of long-time faculty or staff, generally are handled as brief items for MSU Today and the "People in Education" section of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The briefs should include the person's name, title, department and/or college, years in the position and general duties/accomplishments while in the position. Length shouldn't exceed one paragraph.

Grant Awards

The MSU News Service will distribute brief descriptions of new grants to MSU Today and the People in Education section of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Some are written as news tips and are distributed to state media in the biweekly "Research Roundups." New grant announcements, roughly 100 words in length, should include such information as the name of the faculty/staff member involved, the amount of the grant, its duration, the sponsor and the purpose of the project.

Faculty/Staff Awards

In general, the MSU News Service handles faculty and staff awards as described above and encourages the preparation of such brief items by the college-based media specialists. The exceptions include announcements of honorary doctorates and nationally or internationally prominent honors, which are written by MSU news staff and distributed to state daily newspapers. Announcements of university awards conferred during the annual Honors Night Banquet, including the Cox and Wiley awards, are prepared by the MSU News Service and generally printed in the "People in Education" section of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and published on the MSU homepage.

Student Awards/Scholarships/Honors

The MSU News Service will assist with distributing these news items to student hometowns between February and June when most such honors are conferred. Hometowns are brief summaries (one paragraph) of student accomplishments or awards sent directly to students' hometown newspapers (usually weekly newspapers) and not feature-length articles. Hometowns should be prepared at the college level according to MSU News Service guidelines described in the "Guidelines for Hometown News Releases" tip sheet. In general, the hometowns should be grouped by type of award. The MSU News Service can assist with format guidelines. "Hometowns," as these are called, generally are distributed solely to Montana newspapers. The exceptions are the annual Awards for Excellence, the graduation list and the regular Honor Roll. The last two are prepared by MSU news staff using records from the Registrar's Office and distributed within Montana and to nine neighboring states. The exceptions are nationally prominent student awards such as Truman, Rhodes or Goldwater scholarships. The MSU news staff will prepare and distribute these releases to state media.

For more information, contact your beat reporter in the MSU News Service, 994-4571.


Hometown New Releases

The MSU News Service will disseminate hometown news releases on student awards. Hometowns are brief summaries (one paragraph) of student accomplishments or awards sent directly to students' hometown newspapers (usually weekly newspapers). Hometowns are not feature-length articles.

When preparing hometown releases, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Hometown releases are for student honors such as awards, fellowships, scholarships ($1,000 and above) and related accomplishments.

  • Hometown news releases for the academic year ideally should be distributed within one month of the award and no later than June 30.

  • Hometown news releases are distributed only to in-state newspapers. The exceptions are the semi-annual Honor Roll, the graduation list and the Excellence Award recipients. The News Service automatically prepares hometowns on the Honor Roll, the graduation list and the Excellence Awards using data from the Registrar's and Alumni offices and distributes them in Montana and to a select list of other states. Those states are Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado and Alaska.

  • Hometown information should be submitted in a Word document.

  • The News Service maintains a database showing usage of all press releases and can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your hometown items.

  • The News Service has a downloadable form that departments and others can use to submit individual hometown items or up to five similar items. More than five of the same award or scholarship should be submitted in a Word file as text or as an Excel table.

  • Students, parents or other relatives can contact us directly with a hometown request.

For more information, contact your beat reporter in the MSU News Service, 994-4571.


Donations

The Office of University Communications (CPA) recognizes the valuable contributions of donors to the growth and vitality of Montana State University and to the education of its students. CPA works in partnership with the MSU Foundation in acknowledging donations in the media when appropriate.

In general, donations (and sponsorships) to the university can be recognized in the following ways:

  1. Inclusion on the Foundation page of the MSU Collegian;
  2. A listing in the annual Donor Honor Roll;
  3. A posting on the MSU Foundation Web site;
  4. A posting on the appropriate MSU College Web site;
  5. A brief (one paragraph) summary in the Sunday community section of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (with the donation amount) or in MSU Today;
  6. A paid thank-you ad in targeted newspapers.

On occasion, the MSU News Service will prepare and distribute press releases on donations in situations in which the gift is unique in some way—either in amount ($500,000 or more), origin or purpose—as determined by the MSU Foundation. Newspaper editors have asked us to be judicious in the number of donation acknowledgements we submit. What's more, the donor must agree to make the amount of the donation public before a press release can be considered.

Questions about these guidelines should be directed to Tracy Ellig, director, MSU News Service, 994-4571.

Updated September 2008


Press Conferences

The need for press conferences is infrequent in a town with a press corps as small as Bozeman's.

However, when appropriate, the Office of University Communications may contact all local media for briefings, but only if the topic has university-wide, community-wide or state-wide impact. Such briefings must be recommended by the director of the MSU News Service and approved by the vice president of University Communications.

In general, local media are alerted to briefings or press opportunities at a specific time and place with a Media Advisory issued by the MSU News Service.

Please contact the MSU News Director at 994-4571 for more information.