Media GuidesBack to Table of Contents | Back to Recommendations
- Institutions should prepare "media guides" that list faculty in each topic area that are available on short notice to respond to media requests.
Universities must recognize the importance of faculty media brands and take steps to help develop and promote these brands in the same way they support "academic brands". One approach is the development of "media guides" that list key faculty and staff by subject expertise who are available on short notice to respond to media requests. Such guides should be prominently placed on university web sites, continually updated, and regularly sent out on university newswires. When major news events occur, press offices should issue special media guides that list key university research and faculty relevant to the event.
Media guides have the added benefit of concisely summarizing faculty research in centrally-accessible and uniformly written profiles. Faculty are notoriously poor at maintaining updated concise web presences, so the creation of centrally-written research profiles makes it more likely that a reporter or prospective student searching on a given topic will locate a faculty member from that university.
Academia does not necessarily promote the kind of media savvy skills necessary to successfully interact with the news media and so universities should offer basic media training to interested faculty. Interacting with the news media requires the ability to find connections between a scholar's expertise and a reporter's questions and, most importantly, to succinctly summarize complex thoughts into easily digestible soundbites. Faculty must also be able to immediately respond to a reporter's inqueries: in most cases a reporter will simply move on, rather than spend days iterating with a secretary to get on a faculty member's calendar. Not all faculty may recognize the value of news coverage of their work, and so institutions should also perform outreach sessions to help them understand the value of their media brands both to themselves and to the institution.