Media Resources for Faculty and Staff

How can we assist you?

University Communications offers faculty and staff a variety of resources for working with the media. Many of those resources are listed below.

"Getting your scholarship in the news" presentation

This presentation is flexible in length, from 15 to 30 minutes plus Q&A, and covers the basics on what reporters look for when they cover higher education. The presentation also covers the strategies and tools University Communications uses for working with media and provides a list of who faculty can work with in University Communications to get their scholarship in the news. To schedule a presentation, please e-mail Eric Gorton at gortonej@jmu.edu.

Media Training

University Communications encourages faculty to talk to media about their areas of expertise and offers training to help prepare for interviews and media events. Our staff is comprised of former reporters from print, broadcast and website news agencies, with extensive experience in working with the media on a daily basis. To schedule training, contact Eric Gorton, media relations coordinator, at gortonej@jmu.edu or reach him at 540-908-1760.


FAQs

What if a reporter contacts me?

  • Feel free to speak to reporters who contact you for information related to your area of expertise. There's no need to clear it with University Communications.
  • Feel free to decline a reporter's call or to schedule the interview for a later time that better suits your schedule.
  • Please notify your media relations liaison after speaking with the media. That helps our tracking of media activity.
  • If the reporter is asking for comments on an institutional issue or seeking general information, please redirect them to your media relations liaison.


May I contact a reporter I know?

  • Yes, but please notify your media relations liaison.


May I write my own release?

  • Press releases should only come from University Communications. However, your media liaison will work with you to craft a release.


What if I want a photographer for my event?


What if I want a story in Madison Magazine?

  • Contact Madison Magazine at madisonmag@jmu.edu
  • Discuss your idea with your media relations liaison. We work in the same office and share ideas.
Interview Guidelines

The five C's of a successful interview:

  1. Speak with Conviction
  2. Speak in a Conversational manner
  3. Retain your Composure
  4. Be Confident
  5. Be Colorful and illustrate your points with examples.


Interview Guidelines:

  • Make sure the reporter has the correct spelling of your name, title and the full name of the institution for which you work.
  • Please notify your media relations liaison after you've spoken to a reporter. This will help us track media activity.
  • Respond in a timely manner or you may lose the opportunity to be included in a story.
  • When interacting with a reporter, make sure your comments and actions are appropriate at all times. Even when the camera stops rolling or the interaction becomes more conversational. Assume everything you say may appear in print or on air.


Things to avoid:

  • Do not say "off the record." This does not exist, everything is on the record.
  • Avoid saying "no comment" without explaining why you choose not to answer. You could say, "it is our policy not to discuss . . ." or, "I can't answer that because I don't know the answer."


Some addtional tips:

Before the interview:

  • If a reporter calls for an interview, it is acceptable to ask what the subject is and request a few sample questions.
  • If a media organization sounds unfamiliar, you may contact University Communications for vetting.
  • Prepare talking points on your area of expertise in a short and quotable way. Avoid using jargon. You will be talking to a lay audience.


During the interview:

  • If you are doing a telephone interview, it is acceptable ask if you are being recorded.
  • If a reporter asks for comments on an institutional matter, please redirect the reporter to your media relations liaison.
  • Personal experiences are credible and important. You are welcome to share your story.
  • Do not feel compelled to say more than you need to.

A more comprehensive guideline that includes points for on-camera interviews and radio podcasts is available here.

Suggest a media pitch

We strive to showcase the caliber of JMU's faculty, staff and students. If you think something you, your students and/or colleagues are doing may be of interest to the media, let us know.

Here are some things we consider when determining what merits a media pitch:

  • Timely—Is the subject in the news?
  • Trending—Is the subject a general trend in higher education?
  • Unique—Is the subject one-of-a-kind?
  • Proximity—Is the subject relevant to local, regional or national media?
  • Prominence—If you're working with an outside organization, it broadens the appeal.
  • Opinions/subject matter experts who can provide another angle on an ongoing conversation in the media.
  • Photo/video opportunity—Good photo and/or video opportunities often strengthen media interest.
Additional Resources

In addition to working with external media, the media relations staff collaborates with Madison Magazine and has other avenues for disseminating academic news and raising awareness of events.

The monthly President's Newsletter contains a digest of JMU news items that is e-mailed to all faculty and staff. The list is maintained by Rob Tucker.

The official JMU social media channels are maintained by University Communications, which also provides social media consulting.

The Madison Scholar Blog highlights the breadth of scholarly activity at JMU and is also used by media as a source of background information. 

The latest list of faculty/staff accomplishments is updated monthly and contains news about appointments, awards, certifications, grants, honors, exhibitions, fellowships, performances, publications, presentations and service. All news, except grants, is reported by faculty and staff and is one of the ways University Communications discovers news for the media.

Paid advertising: Questions concerning paid advertising should go to Rob Tucker, community relations manager. Decisions about paid advertising are guiding by the university's advertising policy, policy 1501.

The JMU Identity Guide provides information about how to use the JMU signature, emblems, fonts, colors and photos in print and online projects. These resources and guidelines were designed to assist the JMU community to effectively and consistently build and protect the university’s brand through visual communication.

Questions regarding the Freedom of Information Act should be directed to Rob Tucker.

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