The Media Relations coordinator acts as the official spokesperson for Keene State College, but many times others will be called to answer questions or comment on a situation on campus. In that respect, everyone is a potential spokesperson. You may have the best information about a news event and your responses to the media may best serve Keene State.
Please contact us at 603-358-2119, or by e-mail, if you are contacted by any media representative at any time. This will help keep us informed as to what stories are being prepared about Keene State.
If a reporter from a newspaper or radio station calls and asks you to comment on a breaking story, here are some things to remember:
- You don’t have to talk to the reporter, but don’t say “No comment,” as this can be interpreted to mean you know something but won’t tell them. Instead say something like, “I don’t have enough information to talk about that issue” or words to that effect. You can refer the reporter to the Marketing and Communications staff. Then call us at 8-2119, to let us know who called and the nature of the questions.
- You don’t have to talk to the reporter at that moment. (You may have someone in your office with you or you may have to look up some information for your answer.) You might say instead, “I can’t talk right now, but I will call you back in just a few moments.” Be sure to take down the phone number.
- Then close your door so you will not be interrupted.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Think about what you want to say.
- Write down a few key words or phrases to remind you of your points.
- Call us at 603-358-2119 to let us know you have been called by the media and to get any additional information.
- Then call back. Reporters really are on deadline for stories. If you call back too late, all the time you spent phrasing your answer is wasted.
- When you talk to a reporter, just answer the question directly. Don’t go on and on, even if the reporter pauses. This can be a technique to get you to say more than you want. Don’t let reporters put words in your mouth, even if they are on deadline. Don’t simply agree with their statement, unless it is entirely true. Give your own answer clearly. Don’t respond to hypothetical questions. Remember that everything you say has the potential of being printed, sometimes without the context you’ve given it.
- Don’t take it personally if the story doesn’t come out as you intended. Reporters are supposed to produce a balanced story and will look for someone who will say the opposite of what you say. This is not intended to make you look foolish or inaccurate. It is intended to be fair reporting.
- You are never “off the record.” Whatever you say is important information to a reporter and you can expect it to be used sometime, somehow.
A crisis is not limited to major catastrophes, such as a violent crime or environmental hazard. A crisis is a situation which requires immediate and coordinated action. It is also a situation that will have a significant impact on the operation of the College or affect how it is viewed by its audiences.
A critical incident management plan, adopted by the principal administrators, sets up a crisis team of the administrators and others, depending on the nature of the crisis, to handle the emergency. The president appoints a crisis manager; then the crisis team appoints a spokesperson and works together to establish communication strategies.
A situation room will be established in Hale Building and a fact sheet will be prepared as soon as possible for the crisis team, media, and other audiences. All media contacts and public statements should be handled by the appointed spokesperson. All other crisis team members should refer media to the spokesperson.