Working with the UIC News Bureau, Office of Public Affairs
What we do • Inform the public and key audiences about: • Activities and accomplishments of faculty, staff and students • UIC’s strengths in teaching, research, clinical care and public service
Promoting UIC • Work closely with local, national and international news media • Pitch UIC experts for topical and breaking news stories • Write news releases and pitch original UIC research, clinical stories, events, major grants, etc. • Respond to inquiries for experts • Keep the campus community informed
UIC News Bureauat your service • Provide news judgment on potential stories • Schedule and negotiate interviews • Monitor news coverage • Provide media training • Notify internal/external audiences of media hits (Academy listserv, UIC daily clips, UIC In the News) • Provide crisis communications support
Types of Media Interviews • Print and electronic media • Most often via telephone • May require separate print photo shoot • Television – taped or live • One-on-one with reporter or producer • Two camera interview • Panel discussion (in studio) • Radio– taped or live • Via telephone or in studio
What makes a good news story? • First, new, amazing, or unusual • Patient or human interest angle • Visuals • photos, technology, laboratory, real patients that tell story • Well-prepared expert • offer clear, simple explanation in “sound bites” • create a short list of bullet points—the main messages you want to convey • make a list of questions you may be asked
When to contact the News Bureau • We can only promote what we know. Call us anytime! • Patient or human interest story: prior to treatment, procedure, or surgery in order to obtain appropriate patient consent, background, etc. • Research findings: as soon as manuscript has been accepted for publication. We will help ensure that embargoes are enforced and public release timelines are met. • Event/grant/award: when date is scheduled and/or award notification received, so that external and internal publicity goals can become part of communications plan.
How we disseminate news • News releases • Headlines on the UIC homepage • Archived on the News Bureau Web site, www.news.uic.edu • Podcasts • Experts Guide for News Media • Weekly news advisories • Targeted pitches to media • UIC News, campus newspaper
Working with Reporters • Respond promptly and respect their deadlines, even when they seem unreasonable • Develop rapport; discuss the interview subject • Interviews are brief (yet often result in positive exposure for University and department) • Always assume you are on the record • Avoid jargon and technical terms • Express enthusiasm (or concern, sympathy) • Speak in short, simple sentences
Working with Reporters • Don’t feed the microphone • Let the reporter break the silence • Turn negative questions into positive answers • Do not let the reporter put words in your mouth • Answer multiple questions one at a time • If interrupted, stop talking or gently ask that you be allowed to respond • Don’t guess; offer to check facts if necessary • Correct false premises in questions • Never answer a hypothetical question. Restate a relevant message point instead
“Bill of Rights” for Interviewees • To know who is interviewing you and which news organization he or she represents. • To be treated courteously. • To know the general thrust of the interview so you can prepare. • To know approximately how long the interview will last. • To know if other guests will appear with you on a panel and what their roles will be. • To have a News Bureau staff member present if so desired. • To make your own tape of the interview or to obtain one from the station.
“Bill of Rights” for Interviewees • To be allowed to answer without harassment or interruptions, assuming your answers are brief and to the point. • To decline to answer a question you don’t know the answer to. • To have an accurate on-air introduction or to be properly identified in print. • To have the basic intent of your answers conveyed. • To make some of your own points in addition to your responses to the reporter’s queries.
Rights You Do Not Have • To “take back” a comment already on the record, or to take it off the record. However, you should attempt to correct any misstatement of fact as soon as possible—even if it’s after the interview. • To review a reporter’s story prior to publication or his or her notes. Journalism ethics and editorial policies of virtually all reputable news organizations forbid it. However, you may request to have a (print) reporter read back your quotes, and by all means make yourself available for later clarification if needed.
Controlling the Message • Create a short list of bullet points—the main messages you want to convey. • Make a list of questions you may be asked—including those you dread. • Map out and rehearse transitioning your responses to the questions into statements of your messages.
Delivering the Message:How to look • Select a background that best illustrates your story • Check your appearance before going on camera • Look at the reporter, but never at the camera • Smile (when appropriate) • Dress conservatively Avoid bright-white clothing, stripes or checks • Avoid tinted lenses if you were glasses
Delivering the Message:How to look • Keep gestures to a minimum • If seated, use “trick of the trade” • Avoid sitting in a chair that rocks or spins • Avoid nervous habits, such as tapping a pen • Do not look bored, nod during statements you don’t agree with, or wipe your brow or nose • Be careful during introductions and closings Critical points when audience impressions are formed
After the Interview • Reporters may not know exactly when a story will run • The headline, or teaser, may not jibe with the story – usually more sensational • Don’t be too effusive in thanking the reporter • If the reporter has made a significant mistake, contact the News Bureau to discuss your options in seeking a correction