Media Relations Policy
Responsibility: VP, Advancement
Approval: Board of Trustees
Next Review: June 2013
Brock University makes a priority of maintaining a proactive and progressive relationship with the news media.
We believe the Niagara community expects its university to be a credible, forthcoming source of information. Thus Brock pursues a culture of openness with the media and public that values the free exchange of ideas and information.
The policy identifies designated University spokespeople, and outlines University processes for providing information to the news media in order to increase and manage the reputation of the University in the media.
This policy applies to Brock’s relationship with all news media, including all print and broadcast media, online and social media. It also applies to all Brock University departments and Faculties, the Brock University Foundation and the Friends of Brock University (a public foundation incorporated in USA).
- The Department of University Advancement, through its Office of Communications and Public Affairs, co-ordinates media relations for the University as an institution.
- Some Faculties or departments may use their staff or third-party consultants to communicate their internal announcements to news media. Examples include Brock Athletics issuing releases and supporting media on game results, team announcements, etc; the Faculty of Business issuing their own news releases through a private contractor; and the Brock Centre for the Arts overseeing publicity of its concerts and programming announcements.
However, Communications and Public Affairs is solely authorized to handle news media interactions on behalf of the University as an institution. This includes issuing Brock University news releases and official University statements to the media; responding to or coordinating responses to inquiries from journalists; and scheduling interviews or news conferences.
- The Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs is the official University spokesperson and principal contact between the University and media representatives. He/she relates Brock’s official position on issues of university-wide interest or significance, or for situations that may be sensitive. All media inquiries about such matters should be referred to him/her.
- Communications and Public Affairs must be notified of all potentially sensitive, contentious or controversial media inquiries regarding Brock. In cases requiring a public statement by the University, the Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs will work with other University officials to establish the known facts of a situation and summarize the University's position, and will issue official statements. In some situations another appropriate spokesperson may be identified, and interviews or statements arranged as required.
- a. While only authorized individuals will speak publicly on behalf of Brock, the University recognizes the rights and responsibilities that flow from the exercise of academic freedom.
Members of the University’s Senior Administration Council (SAC) have the authority to speak with the media on topics within their area of responsibility and expertise. In such instances, Communications and Public Affairs staff are available to provide preparation assistance or advice about media interviews.
b. If a faculty member is contacted directly by a journalist about their area of expertise, they are free to grant an interview if they feel prepared to do so. Communications and Public Affairs staff are available to provide preparation assistance or advice about media interviews.
In both circumstances, Communications and Public Affairs staff should be notified about any such media contacts so they can monitor media coverage that features Brock.
- Media representatives should place requests for information or interviews through Communications and Public Affairs, to expedite a prompt and co-ordinated response. Communications and Public Affairs staff will respond to media inquiries as promptly as possible, including to significant inquiries that occur outside of normal office hours. The University recognizes media deadline pressures and endeavours to provide open and equal access to all news media. The University will present particular features to individual media representatives where a past interest was expressed, and will respect the exclusivity of a story initiated by individual media representatives.
- In order to facilitate media relations, the media are encouraged to inform Communications and Public Affairs in advance of or upon arrival on campus, unless they have been specifically invited to the University.
Amendments (revision history)
Date revised: June 2010
Responsible: Associate Director, Communications and Public Affairs