UNC Charlotte
PR Guidebook
A Handbook for Staff and Faculty




                            Published by
            Publi...
UNC Charlotte Public Relations contacts
Director of Public Relations
John D. Bland, APR
217 Reese
704.687.4385
jdbland@unc...
UNC Charlotte Public Relations contacts

Media Relations Coordinator
Denise “Buffie” Stephens
212 Reese
704.687.2292
dbste...
Welcome to the Inaugural edition of the UNC Charlotte PR Guidebook! Please take a
look inside and keep this for future ref...
What We Do


The responsibilities of the Public Relations Department focus on three primary areas:
   • Media Relations
  ...
What is News?

We all agree it’s important for the word to get out about the great things happening at the
University. The...
Which Medium? Which Method?

Once a story has proven to be newsworthy, it’s time to find the right avenue for it. In
order...
editors. The Tip Sheet is not a catch-all for marginal stories – submissions are
       judged on news appeal.

       Med...
How it Works

Always feel free to call us when you have questions about any of the information in this
Guidebook. But for ...
Providing news for the Tip Sheet

The Tip Sheet includes a headliner, news and business items, community related topics
an...
If you would like to have an image placed within the “Rotating Promo” area on the
homepage, e-mail the following informati...
Appendix I

  The PR team seeks to fulfill the following mandate from Chancellor Philip L. Dubois.

               Interna...
Appendix II

                             POLICY STATEMENT #29

                            DISSEMINATION OF NEWS

Policy
...
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PR Guidebook Master Copy

  1. 1. UNC Charlotte PR Guidebook A Handbook for Staff and Faculty Published by Public Relations Department April 2007
  2. 2. UNC Charlotte Public Relations contacts Director of Public Relations John D. Bland, APR 217 Reese 704.687.4385 jdbland@uncc.edu Communications background: Newspaper reporter, magazine editor, corporate communications director, PR agency counselor and account supervisor. Education background: MBA, McColl Graduate School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte; BS in Communications/Journalism, University of Tennessee; Institute for Crisis Management; Accredited in Public Relations Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee At UNC Charlotte since: November 2005 Internal Communications Manager Search in progress Media Relations Manager Paul Nowell 214 Reese 704.687.2393 pmnowell@uncc.edu Communications background: Associated Press newsman, business writer, correspondent; daily newspaper reporter. Education background: MA in Journalism, The University of Missouri; BA in English, Boston College Hometown: Ramsey, New Jersey At UNC Charlotte since: September 2006 2
  3. 3. UNC Charlotte Public Relations contacts Media Relations Coordinator Denise “Buffie” Stephens 212 Reese 704.687.2292 dbsteph1@uncc.edu Communications background: Doggett/Lippi Advertising; Powell & Jones Advertising; Charlotte Magazine. Education background: BA in English, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina At UNC Charlotte since: May 2006 Executive Assistant Cathy Brown 216A Reese 704.687.4286 cmbrown1@uncc.edu Communications background: UNC Charlotte Public Relations Department Hometown: Rutland, Vermont At UNC Charlotte since: July 2002 Note: Some of UNC Charlotte’s colleges and organizations have their own managers of communications and marketing who handle various communications-related projects. They are another resource to consider, especially regarding tasks that may be better handled at the college or department level. If you are unsure whether your organization has a communications manager, we encourage you to ask your co-workers or supervisor. 3
  4. 4. Welcome to the Inaugural edition of the UNC Charlotte PR Guidebook! Please take a look inside and keep this for future reference – we think it will prove useful. The UNC Charlotte Public Relations Team Preface Anyone who has spent any time around UNC Charlotte would agree there are so many stories to tell. It’s the job of the Public Relations Department to gather newsworthy information from faculty, administrators and staff and disseminate it to the media and ultimately to the general public. At first glance, it appears to be a straightforward process, but it can be complex and in some cases frustrating. Reporters and editors are bombarded by daily phone calls, e-mails and faxes pushing successes, new ventures, and other news tips; getting their attention is always challenging. We want to make the process of getting stories about UNC Charlotte in print and on the air less cumbersome and more understandable. Charlotte is a growing city, with a wide variety of media, including newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and magazines and other publications. The challenge is finding the appropriate outlets for compelling news. We’re here to work with you to do that. 4
  5. 5. What We Do The responsibilities of the Public Relations Department focus on three primary areas: • Media Relations • Internal Communications • Public Relations and Marketing Communications counsel This work includes frequent collaboration with colleagues throughout the university, especially in supporting special events or activities of the Chancellor’s Office and the University Relations and Community Affairs Division. Our services are available to all Colleges, Departments, Offices, etc. However, our priority is representing the University and helping advance its strategic goals. In effect, we function as a corporate communications department. 5
  6. 6. What is News? We all agree it’s important for the word to get out about the great things happening at the University. The challenge is to find out what sets your stories apart from an everyday occurrence. So how can you tell if your story is news? Evaluating a Story Idea Reporters are drawn to news that fits into one or more of these categories: Proximity – Nearness to your audience / Are they directly affected? Timeliness – Is this something new? Prominence – Are those involved of importance to the audience? Novelty – Is this something unusual, first, largest etc.? Conflict – Are there competing sides, big or small? Wide Appeal – In many cases local media appeals to an eighth-grade reading level and topics that appeal to mass audiences. Does your story have wide appeal or can you describe why it should? The Six Ws It is also important to frame a story with the five Ws: • Who is doing it? • What is happening? • Where is it happening? • When will it or did it happen? • Why (and how) is it being done? A sixth W that is important to the media is: • Why should anyone care? This is, perhaps, the most important – as every editor will ask it before a story sees the light of day. Be sure you can answer all these questions so that your story is solid. 6
  7. 7. Which Medium? Which Method? Once a story has proven to be newsworthy, it’s time to find the right avenue for it. In order to ensure we are choosing the correct path, here are some things we need from you: 1. Time – Please give us ample time to publicize your story. This will make it more likely for your news story to get adequate coverage. When we have to rush, we can miss deeper news value that often hides within a seemingly superficial story. Providing us with several days notice gives us time to look for an interesting angle or a news tidbit that might encourage a newspaper or broadcaster to do the story. 2. Contacts – We need to be able to present accurate contact information for on- campus sources who are both knowledgeable about the subject and willing to talk to reporters. Do you know of any “experts” outside the University who would validate your story? Please provide names, phone number and e-mail addresses. 3. Context – What’s the “big picture” surrounding your story. Can it be tied to a major strategic priority of the University? Has this topic been covered before by the local press? Different stories are handled in different ways based on the nature of the story and the audience to whom it is targeted. You must be willing to put your trust in the PR team’s experience. Allow us to counsel you and please respect our right to decide how to communicate the news. PR tools Here are some of the ways we disseminate the news: Campus News – Our internal weekly news outlet to faculty and staff. It is managed by the Internal Communications Manager. Media pitches – The Media Relations Manager, Media Relations Coordinator and Director of Public Relations work directly with reporters and editors to place specific UNC Charlotte stories and higher education trend stories in newspapers, magazines, online and on TV or radio. News releases – The Public Relations Department cultivates relationships with reporters by providing well-written, accurate news releases and other written materials delivered in a timely manner. Such releases provide sufficient facts to permit the media to use them with few changes or enough information so that reporters and editors can evaluate the story, and then follow up. Tip Sheet – The Media Relations Coordinator sends a weekly round-up of current news and events occurring at UNC Charlotte to various news media outlets every Wednesday. The Tip Sheet serves as a digest of news briefs that are prepared concisely and may be compelling - especially to television news assignment 7
  8. 8. editors. The Tip Sheet is not a catch-all for marginal stories – submissions are judged on news appeal. Media advisories – Advisories are brief outlines of information providing only the Six Ws. Advisories are used to alert reporters and editor about events that are likely to provide good material for photographers or video. UNC Charlotte – The quarterly magazine for alumni and friends. This publication is targeted to alumni and various V.I.P.s who are associated with or interested in the University’s activities. Web site promotions – Promos refer to the four “buttons” that appear on the right- hand side of the uncc.edu home page. Typically, one of these promos is designated as “non-rotating,” or static. This space is reserved for special use by the Public Relations Department and the Chancellor’s Office. The remaining promos are designated as “rotating,” or changing. All promos link to information stored somewhere on the uncc.edu web site. Usually one promo remains visible at all times (the non-rotating promo) while up to six additional promos rotate every time you refresh your screen. Members of the campus community may submit requests for one of the rotating-promo spots; for details, see Page 10. Consultation Services The Public Relations team is committed to telling true stories that burnish the reputation of the entire University. Like many of you, we have very limited resources at our disposal. That requires us to make tough choices on how and where to apply our time. Nonetheless, we provide a variety of services and seek to help you as much as we can. Here are some of the other services we offer: • Advising you on how to respond to media inquiries. • Supporting your crisis communications needs. • Brainstorming tactical ideas. • Helping you devise a communication plan or strategy. • Directing you to outside resources for PR, marketing and advertising needs. We observe well-established standards of practice, including confidentiality when sensitive situations warrant; we will not lie and we seek not to mislead. We want all our work to be credible, as credibility, accessibility and responsiveness are the currency of effective public relations. We are the University’s advocates whose primary mission is to reach out to the media to communicate favorable stories. 8
  9. 9. How it Works Always feel free to call us when you have questions about any of the information in this Guidebook. But for your convenience, here are some procedures that should guide you. We try to balance flexibility with timeliness, so don’t be afraid to ask if you have a question or problem. Requesting News Releases and Pitches The Public Relations office cultivates relationships with reporters by distributing provocative and accurate news releases in a timely manner. The intent is to allow the media to use the material with few changes, or give them enough information to do their own. The stories we tell in the news release come from you – the university community. But there are certain things we need before we can take your ideas and transform them into a news release. The main thing we require is your trust. The PR staff is a group of dedicated professionals who have handled everything from human-interest stories to major disasters, including cases of life and death. It is vital for you to understand that the PR staff has the authority to make the final determination about the use of any submission. We have the experience and the skills to decide if an item warrants a news release or whether it is better suited for something else, such as Campus News and the Tip Sheet. Some submissions are not suited for any action on our part. Here are a few tips for putting together an effective news release: 1. Be certain the story is newsworthy and accurate. Spend time to write a headline that is succinct and catchy. 2. Start off with a brief description of the news or event, and then specify who announced it: not the other way around. 3. Ask yourself if this is relevant to the public and what they will need to know. Get right to the point; don’t assume the reader will make it past the first paragraph. 4. Keep the release’s length to one page. It’s a means to the end, not the end-all. One PR expert once said to think of a news release as a job resume. It does not include every bit of information you have, but it should serve to entice the reporter to pick up the phone. 5. Avoid excessive use of jargon or adjectives. Deal with facts. Check and re-check spellings, titles and statistics. 6. Provide contact information, such as the individual to contact, address, phone, fax, email and web site address. 7. Confirm your information before you send it to us. 8. Try to make is as easy as possible for a reporter to use the release. 9
  10. 10. Providing news for the Tip Sheet The Tip Sheet includes a headliner, news and business items, community related topics and arts and entertainment events. Colleges and departments are encouraged to send news items or events that have appeal to the public at-large for consideration. The PR team uses its editorial judgment in choosing items to include. The Tip Sheet is in production Tuesday and Wednesday and usually distributed to the media by email at noon on Wednesday. Deadline for tips is noon on Tuesday. The format is very popular and well-read. We welcome your submissions. Submit items to Buffie Stephens at dbsteph1@uncc.edu. Contributing to Campus News All submissions to Campus News are via e-mail to the address campnews@uncc.edu Members of the UNC Charlotte community must submit articles by 5 p.m. the Wednesday prior to publication for inclusion in Campus News. Between 5 p.m. on Wednesday and noon on Monday, the editor edits and formats Campus News text using the Associated Press Stylebook guidelines. • Include the desired date of publication and article title in the subject line of your e-mail. If you are requesting more than one publishing date, please submit separately each week. • Include the text of your submission in the body of the e-mail; attach individual files of applicable photographs. • Campus News is published according to the Associated Press stylebook, which differs from the more academic MLA or APA styles. • While we make every attempt to include your newsworthy submissions, Campus News reserves the right to make editorial decisions; if we have questions about your submission, we will contact you by e-mail and/or phone. Requesting a web page promo On the University’s homepage (www.uncc.edu), promotions are posted as images in the right column. There are two kinds of promotions in that area: “Non-Rotating” promos (reserved for Chancellor’s Office and Public Relations) and “Rotating” promos, which change on browser refresh. It is important to note that the homepage itself has a majority of its hits from off-campus constituents. Promotions on the home page should be toward this large community of people and not be focused on local University events intended for internal constituents (for example, only students, only faculty and staff). 10
  11. 11. If you would like to have an image placed within the “Rotating Promo” area on the homepage, e-mail the following information to campnews@uncc.edu for approval: 1. Brief description of the event to promote. 2. Justification for homepage promotion. 3. Desired start date and end date of the promotion. 4. A visually engaging image or graphic to serve as the promo. 5. A URL/Web hyperlink to which the promo will direct users. Please note that we receive many requests for promos and must consider all very carefully. Summary We hope this document will be useful for you. As you can understand, one of our challenges is making the most valuable use of our limited resources, for the University. Inevitably, our decisions are often subjective. Our goal is to do our best based on our experience, and we promise that we will provide you with honest and professional counsel. Don’t be a stranger. 11
  12. 12. Appendix I The PR team seeks to fulfill the following mandate from Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. Internal Administrative Operating Principles and Values Mission Driven: • Decisions must be in the best long-term interest of the University as a whole (i.e., turf- based concerns need look elsewhere for support). • Values to value include integrity, honesty, openness, candor, and absolute respect for confidentiality. • Esse Quam Videri (NC State Motto)—“to be rather than to seem.” (i.e., substance comes before spin.) Collaborative: • Consult with affected constituencies and administrators before decisions are made. • Use Chancellor individually and Executive Staff collectively as sounding boards for difficult decisions or issues. • Open and vigorous debate and discussion prior to decisions; faithful implementation thereafter. • Communicate and explain decisions made to constituent groups and affected administrators.> Accountable: • Respond promptly and openly to inquiries from the Board of Governors, Office of the President, Trustees, elected representatives, and the media (but keep Dubois and other affected administrators informed). • Listen positively; avoid defense responses to criticism from on- or off-campus constituencies. • “Walk the Talk”—words must be backed by actions and behaviors. 12
  13. 13. Appendix II POLICY STATEMENT #29 DISSEMINATION OF NEWS Policy The University encourages effective communications within the campus community and with the institution's many off-campus publics. The Office of Public Relations is the University's agent for communicating with the campus community and with off-campus publics through the mass media. Members of the University community are encouraged to seek the assistance of the Office of Public Relations in all communications endeavors. Procedures and Regulations 1. Members of the University community may respond to representatives of the mass media when approached for information; however, members of the University community are cautioned against representing themselves as speaking for the institution. Assistance from the Office of Public Relations is available when responding to queries from the mass media. 2. Approaches by members of the University community to the mass media concerning University affairs should be made through the Office of Public Relations. 3. The Office of Public Relations publishes a newsletter of broad general interest to the campus community. This is the only University office authorized to publish such a newsletter. Offices or departments wishing to inform the campus community may submit information for consideration for the newsletter. This does not preclude the dissemination of user information, such as that prepared by the Computer Center, by newsletter. Suggestions for improvement of the campus newsletter are welcomed by the Office of Public Relations. 13

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