Nov 17, 2011
The external communications team within University Communications and Marketing (UCM) do so much more than press releases.
The team creates and executes strategic communication plans for units across OHIO; plans events such as press conferences; proactively pitches OHIO faculty and researchers to the news media; manages an online experts directory used by the media worldwide; and that is just for starters.
"The external communications team works directly with the media to provide them with pertinent and accurate information about Ohio University," said Kelley Finan, director of marketing and external communications. "Whenever there is an emergency or crisis, our team is among the first contacted by the media. As such, it is imperative that colleges and departments reach out to us with news as soon as they are able, even if the issue hasn’t yet reached crisis stage. We can help prepare messages, talking points and spokespeople to ensure prompt and accurate responses for when the media do call."
When there is a crisis, the external communication team requests that the college or department provide them with information no matter the time of day.
"Once we are informed of a crisis, we consult with the affected area to designate a spokesperson and coach them on working with the media," said Finan. “There is a media relations staff person on call and available 24/7 for support.”
Even when there isn’t a pressing crisis, any member of the University community who is contacted by a member of the media on a subject that requires an institutional response and relates to a University policy, position or stance should forward the inquiry to the external communications team.
"By going through us, we can ensure that the media are connected to the right spokesperson on a given subject," said Finan. "We see to it that our spokespeople know the story angles and are prepared for interviews, and that media outlets are given the right information the first time."
The external relations team is entrusted with not only maintaining OHIO's profile, but also expanding it.
According to the University’s policy on external communications, Policy 31.001, all news releases must be coordinated through UCM to assure accurate, consistent and timely delivery of the institution's communication, and to avoid undue competition for media attention. UCM subscribes to a comprehensive news distribution service that enables it to strategically select media – print, broadcast and online – to receive the news. Professional writers can also help edit and make recommendations for effective news release content.
"OHIO's greatest resources are the faculty, staff and students who fill our halls. They are full of great stories, and our job is to make sure those stories are shared with the world," said Finan.