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Resources for the UD Community

Communications and Public Affairs is dedicated to spreading the word about University of Delaware activities, achievements and experts.

Generate Publicity for Your Accomplishment

The External Relations team serves as the University’s liaison to the news media. That responsibility includes:

  • News pitches The old press release is no longer the best way to garner coverage of your work or event.  Journalists receive hundreds, even thousands of them a day.  UD’s External Relations team breaks through the noise by cultivating relationships with journalists and directly pitching those we know will be most interested in your news.

  • Experts CPA maintains the University of Delaware’s official Experts webpage.  This listing helps connect journalists with UD professors.  It is intended to be media-friendly, offering a quick overview of “who knows what” on campus.  If you are not included and would like to be, please contact your college communicator about getting listed.

  • Media Training  Speaking to reporters can be nerve wracking for some people. CPA offers media training sessions to prepare faculty members for interviews either on a planned or emergency basis.  If you have been contacted about an interview and would like to prepare, review some of the interview tips below.

Our staff is knowledgeable about the media and effective communication plans.  To ensure the best coverage, we need to know about what’s going on and we need to know it EARLY.

You are the best advocate for your projects and events.  Please tell your college communicator about your activities, events and accomplishments.  Timing is crucial in the news business; so is planning.  Waiting until the day your study is published or after your event occurs means you will not get media coverage.  Please reach out as early as possible so we can formulate an effective communication strategy.

Media Interview Tips

To begin with, find out the reporter’s name, including correct spelling, the outlet he/she represents and the theme of the article.  A good question to ask is: What might a potential headline for your story be?

Find out what kind of questions they’d like answered.  Reporters are often offended if you ask for questions up front, and many do not write out questions before calling.  They simply know the gist of what they might ask and allow conversations to flow accordingly.

Ask for a short period of time to collect your thoughts; schedule a time within the next few hours to talk again.

It is extremely helpful to consider 2-3 points you’d like to make during the interview. Write them down beforehand.  Keep your answers on point and reiterate your key statements throughout the interview.

BE AWARE – NOTHING IS OFF THE RECORD! NOTHING! When speaking with a reporter, you should consider yourself on the record from the moment you say hello until after you hang up or part company.

Make your answers succinct.  Reporters are looking for quotes or sound bites – relatively short answers that encapsulate an issue or thought.   Do not over-explain.  It can be worse than saying too little.  Often misquotes happen because an interviewee gave so much information, the reporter had trouble keeping track of it.

Avoid jargon.  Every field has its own “language” that is foreign to those outside the discipline. Think of your answers this way – how would I explain this to a 12 year old?  Most news is written at an eighth grade reading level to ensure the majority of Americans understand it.  Microsoft Word’s grammar check includes a grade level checker.  Prior to your interview, draft the points you like to make in a document and check if your explanations would make sense to a 12 year old.

Be conscious of deadlines.  Return reporters calls/e-mails on the same day you receive them, as soon as you receive them.  News is 24/7, and as the media shrinks, journalists are carrying heavier workloads with shorter deadlines.  On any given day, a reporter is generally assigned their story that morning and it is due that afternoon.   Also be aware that interviews are often short affairs.  They’ll typically take just a few minutes of your time.

Don’t speculate or answer hypothetical questions.  Tell the reporter you cannot answer a question if it is posed as a speculation or hypothetical.

If a television station asks for an interview, assume it is on camera.  Typically the crew will come to you in your office for the interview.

Expert is a loose term used by the media.  Often, a journalist is not seeking the foremost expert in a topic. Journalists representing the mainstream media are speaking to a general audience, not one with a specialized background.  They seek a “beginners course.” For instance, if you are an economist, they assume you can discuss the economy.  Don’t fret if you couldn’t teach an “advanced course” in the topic. If the interview does veer into subjects you don’t feel comfortable addressing, let the reporter know.