4000-5-1Release of Information to the Media

Issue Date:
July 22, 1987
Supersedes Date:
October 19, 1981

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

Policy

Statements to media representatives regarding College Policy are to be made only by the President, the Chair of the Board, members of the College Executive Committee or the Manager of Public Relations.

Guideline for Staff

The process of informing the public about the activities and special services offered at Lambton College must be considered an important part of every staff member's responsibilities. Doing a better job of cultivating public awareness and support can obviously have a real payoff for us as we move into a period of fiscal restraint and declining high school enrollment.

Paid advertising, brochures, and calendars, not to mention high school and community liaison activity, cannot do the whole job of spreading the word about the College. It is often said that word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising of all.

One way to get the people talking about the College (positively, we hope is if they read in a newspaper or hear on radio or television about an interesting student or staff activity, a special campus event, speaker or project.

We cannot demand that our activities be aired or published - it is an editor's job to decide what is newsworthy. But we can do a much better job of letting the media know what we are doing. Many of our activities are newsworthy or have solid human interest value - and that is what captures the interest of any reporter.

The following guidelines were drawn up to help you when you are contacted by a reporter or when you think you are doing something which might be of interest to the general public.

Prime Contact

The Manager of Public Relations is the College's main prime contact for news media representatives. She/he is available as a resource if you are contacted by a reporter or if you have an activity you would like to publicize. She/he should also be notified of any contacts you have had with the media where her/his assistance was not needed.

Establishing An Effective Relationship with Reporters

If you are contacted directly by a reporter and he/she asks you a question you feel you cannot answer, there are several options open to you.

  1. Delay Your Response

    If the question falls within your sphere of responsibility, but you do not have the answer at your fingertips, admit this, say that you will call back with the information at a specified time.

    Do not feel you should respond 'off the cuff' as you may regret your response later. However, don’t forget that 'old news is no news', and that your personal credibility, as well as that of the College, will decline if you do not show a basic respect for the deadlines governing a reporter's job. If at all possible, return all calls the same day.

  2. Honesty

    When dealing with the news media, always be honest. The College is a public institution and the public has a right to know about our activities. If we seem to evade questions, reporters will think we are hiding something.

    A simple response, such as "I don't know, but I'll find out who does and get back to you," with a thorough follow-up, is the type of honest answer which can foster a good relationship with the news media, not to mention the general public.

    If you feel it is inappropriate to comment on something or to divulge certain information, say so rather than trying to 'skate around it.'

  3. Referrals

    If it is not your job to know the answer to a question, then refer the reporter to the appropriate person. If you don't know who should receive that call, contact the Manager of Public Relations, who will follow up for you.

    The president and members of the College Executive Committee are the official spokespeople for all matters relating to overall College philosophy, policy, and development. Refer all calls of this nature to one of these people.


For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact:

Jim Elliott
Director, Quality Assurance & Institutional Research
519-542-7751 x 3489
jim.elliott@lambtoncollege.ca

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