Responding to media inquiries

Positive media coverage is an important part of the university's communications efforts, including its public outreach and its recruitment and retention of students. Responding promptly and accurately to the news media helps ensure correct information about the university is published.

Faculty and staff are free to respond to requests from the media regarding their research, scholarship, teaching or professional expertise. In such cases, please contact the News Service writer who covers your college so that we can track the upcoming MSU media coverage.

If media inquiries involve issues of university-wide significance and/or are of a controversial or sensitive nature, they are to be referred to University Communications.

If a member of the media contacts you and you would like to discuss the matter, or if you wish to share the details of upcoming events or positive news stories about the university, please contact Michael Becker, MSU News Service director, at 994-4565 or [email protected]

News releases

News releases issued by the university are typically written by the MSU News Service or another member of the University Communications staff. All university news releases intended for off-campus or external audiences should be routed through the appropriate media specialist with University Communications and/or the News Service.

If you have information about an accomplishment, award or achievement among the students, faculty or staff that you believe should be recognized in a university news release, contact the News Service to discuss a potential story. Similarly, if you have ideas for news releases that would positively portray the university, its work or its community, direct those suggestions to the appropriate media specialist. Similarly, University Communications should be notified about negative occurrences that are likely to rise to the level of receiving media coverage.

General advice for working with the media

Dealing with a member of the media — whether they are working for print, television or other medium – can be nerve-wracking. Here are some guidelines to help ease anxiety while providing accurate information and helping the reporter meet their needs.

  • If a member of the media reaches out to you directly, get the name of the reporter, the media organization they work for and their deadline for receiving information from MSU. Reach out to a member of the News Service to advise them of the contact.
  • If you interview with a reporter, find out when they anticipate the story will be released and where it will be available (in print, online or when it will air on TV/radio). This information should be included when the notification is made to the appropriate News Service staff member.
  • Be prompt, helpful and honest in your dealing with the media. All contacts from the media should be returned as soon as possible, in deference to reporters' deadlines. Make sure you understand each question from the media before answering. If you cannot answer the question, or are uncomfortable providing a response, take the reporter's number and advise them that someone who can provide the information will contact him/her as soon as possible. Then follow up by contacting the appropriate media specialist or the News Service director.
  • Do not offer speculations or gossip.
  • Do not answer a reporter's question with "no comment."
  • Do not be condescending or underestimate the reporter's intelligence, but make sure the reporter understands your responses.
  • Provide your phone number and/or email address so they can approach you with follow-up questions.
  • Remember that in responding to the media, you can be seen as representing and speaking for the university. Avoid sharing your personal opinions, and if you do, clearly and carefully identify them as your opinions.
  • Refer inquiries about legal issues; personnel issues; campus crises or emergencies; and questions of university integrity, such as ethics or issues that may result in harm to others to the director of the News Service or vice president of University Communications.
  • Any media inquiries that involve identifiable information about specific faculty, staff or students should be directed to the director of the News Service or vice president of University Communications.
  • Only public information on faculty and staff may be provided without the employee's written approval. Public information can be found on the MSU Directory.