Working with the Media
University Marketing and Communications often refers news reporters directly to faculty, staff or administrators who have expertise, responsibility or authority in a particular area.
If a reporter contacts you directly and you are not comfortable responding or you believe someone else at the University can best answer the questions, please refer the reporter to Tom Hansen, Associate University Relations Specialist.
After speaking or e-mailing with a reporter, please inform us of the contact so we can track media stories about the University and assist reporters who may need additional information.
If you prefer assistance in setting up an interview or you would like to receive a brief session in speaking and working with the media, please contact University Marketing and Communications.
Tips for working with reporters
- When a reporter calls and leaves a message, try to return the call within 2 or 3 hours. Most reporters will be working on deadline for an article due before the end of the day. If a reporter is working on a longer deadline, they generally will tell you.
- If you are contacted unexpectedly, feel free to tell the reporter you need time to collect your thoughts and will call back before the reporter's deadline. You can use this opportunity to jot down notes or key issues you want to mention.
- Once you begin speaking with a reporter, assume that all your comments are on the record.
- Keep your responses simple. Avoid jargon or technical terms.
- Do not make joking comments or statements. Many reporters will consider such comments fair game to include in their articles.
- If you don't know the answer to a question or don't wish to answer, simply say so. Never answer, "No comment."
- If you offer a personal opinion on a subject, make it clear to the reporter that you are speaking for yourself and not your colleagues or UW-Superior.
- TV reporters generally will want to interview you on camera. There's no need to be nervous. Speak clearly in a normal tone of voice. Keep your answers short and simple. Most interviews are recorded and edited, so if you stumble or mis-speak, simply start over with your reply.
- Not everything you say will be used because of time and space limits. If a certain part of your answer is particularly important, be sure to note that to help the reporter understand its significance.
- Reporters generally will not let you review their article before it is broadcast or printed. However, if you are concerned about a report's accuracy, it is reasonable for you to ask that they read back your comments and direct quotes that they plan to use.
- Print reporters may wish to obtain your photograph to accompany their article. If you do not have your photo on your computer, suggest the reporter contact the University Marketing and Communications Office. We have images on file of many university employees.
- After the story appears and if you are pleased, feel free to follow up with the reporter to thank them and let them know they did a good job. This goes a long way toward building a relationship between the University and the media.