Frequently Asked Questions for the Campus Community
What should I do if a reporter calls?
Please remember that you can always contact Media Relations for immediate help or advice regarding a reporter's call. In fact, we always like to know when you are speaking with a reporter. This allows us to track media coverage and identify reporters who have an interest in the Medical School and/or UMass Memorial Medical Center.
When a reporter calls, gather the basic details - reporter's name, media outlet, phone number and story deadline - and ask what the story will be about and how the interview will be used. If you're the appropriate expert but aren't prepared to talk, don't hesitate to set a later interview time within the reporter's deadline.
If you're not the best expert, refer the reporter to someone who is or contact us at 508-856-2000.
I've got a busy schedule. Why should I work with the media?
Taking time to share your news or expertise with a reporter is good for UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center as it gets the word out about the remarkable things happening on campus. It's also good for you: a news story is a great way to promote your work to an audience of thousands, even millions, of people.
Importantly, working with the media also fulfills UMass Medical School's obligation as a public institution to keep residents of the Commonwealth informed about campus research, teaching and scholarship.
I've had a bad experience with a reporter, and now I'm wary of the media. Any tips?
It is certainly unpleasant to be misquoted or misunderstood but it is important not to let one incident negatively impact your view of all reporters. Being prepared for an interview is important to ensure a positive outcome. If you are uncomfortable in any way, a member of our staff can provide advice by phone and even sit in on an interview, if you'd like.
How does Media Relations find news on campus?
The Media Relations team looks for campus news by building strong working relationships with people like you. We also rely upon you to contact us when you have news to share.
How far ahead of time do I need to contact Media Relations for a press release about my news?
Ideally, we need about two weeks' notice. This allows us time to gather information on your work, do interviews, write a news release, get your approval and decide which reporters to alert. But the more lead time the better, especially if the news is complex. Still, if you contact us with news on short notice, we will do our best to help.
My research is going to be published in an academic journal. Should I alert your office?
Yes. Contact us as soon as you find out, so there's time to talk with you about your research findings and determine the best plan to share your news. We are also very comfortable with issuing embargoed news releases, respecting a journal's requirement that it publish the story first.
What if I'll be presenting research at a professional meeting, or testifying before government leaders?
Yes. If your presentation will be on a major topic in the news, please contact Media Relations a few weeks in advance.
Are reporters or cameras allowed into my classroom or office building?
Not without permission. Broadcast media and photographers must receive permission from the Office of Public Affairs & Publications to film or take photographs on campus. Further, we must be very careful to protect the confidentiality of patients and visitors to our clinical partner, UMass Memorial Medical Center. Individual professors or instructors can decide whether to allow a reporter or camera crew into a class, but permission must first be obtained from our office.
If I have expertise on a topic in the news, how do I get my name out there?
We promote campus experts in several ways. We are currently refining our directory of experts, organized by topic, and when there's breaking news, we alert reporters about available campus experts, typically by phone or e-mail. If you're an expert on a topic, please contact us at email@example.com . We'll add you to our directory.
What if I have bad news?
After you have notified your department chair, school dean or division head, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 508-856-2000. Media Relations personnel are experienced in responding to public relations emergencies, but we will need adequate time and information in order to develop a joint plan for responding to media inquiries and managing the situation.