FAQ About Media Relations
What is the difference between a news release and media advisory?
Ultimately, a news release is a longer form collection of information about an event, news item, or announcement that is written like a newspaper story with the hopes that it would be picked up verbatim by a news outlet or used as a launching point for a more in-depth story.
A media advisory is a shorter, more time-sensitive collection of information that provides a brief description of the event or news item along with contact information for possible interviews and photo opportunities.
If I have a news item that I think would be worthy of a media advisory or news release, how soon should I get to to the Media Relations Coordinator?
We would like to have story pitches at least two weeks in advance of an event or announcement in order to properly track down information, conduct interviews, copy edit the announcement, and coordinate a distribution list for media outlets both locally and throughout the state/region.
The longer the office has to consider the story the better the opportunity for placement and attention.
If I have expertise in a certain subject matter and would like to make myself available to media, how to I go about contacting the right person?
As part of the services offered by the Office of University Communications (UComm), we provide media outlets with an Experts Guide of relevant faculty members who can provide insight and commentary on news items whether they are local or national.
What do I do if a reporter calls my office or leaves a message?
If a reporter reaches out to you for an interview or a statement, it is best to take their name and number and then contact the UNO Media Relations Coordinator at 402.554.2704 to either help coordinate an interview or respectfully decline an interview on your behalf.
A reporter called me and I am happy to do an interview with them, what other steps do I need to take?
See above. Please contact the UNO Media Relations Coordinator at 402.554.2704 to coordinate an appropriate interview time and location.
A reporter called me and I do not want to do an interview, what can I say to them?
There is never any obligation to do an interview with a reporter. In the event that you wish to decline an interview, please contact the UNO Media Relations Coordinator at 402.554.2704 to communicate with the reporter on your behalf.
I agreed to do an interview and am nervous about what kinds of questions the reporter may ask me. How can I better prepare so I am not nervous?
It is completely natural to be nervous before an interview with a reporter. One of the best things to do before an interview, if time allows, is to do a run-through of the interview experience with another person. The Office of University Communications and the UNO Media Relations Coordinator are happy to provide a mock interview experience and hands-on advice about your particular interview.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out. The UNO Media Relations Coordinator is available by phone at 402.554.2704 or by email at email@example.com.
What do I do if I am in the middle of an interview and the reporter wants to discuss a topic I am not comfortable with?
The best way to avoid controversial or upsetting topics in an interview is to let the reporter know that you are not the best person to speak on that particular topic or that you are uncomfortable answering that particular question. You always have the right of refusal when it comes to questions.
I have heard it is a bad idea to use the words “no comment” - is that true?
Yes. Even though there is nothing wrong with an unwillingness to answer questions on sensitive topics, the specific term “no comment” has become synonymous with a desire to cover up information. The best way to avoid speaking with a reporter on a sensitive topic is to respectfully decline by saying that you have nothing to add to the story.
What is the best way to make sure that what I say isn’t going to be twisted or misinterpreted?
Most reporters are simply looking to tell a story as quickly and efficiently as they can and, sometimes, more nuanced arguments are harder to explain to readers, listeners, and viewers.
The best way to ensure that your comments and insight are kept accurate and properly contextualized is to answer each question as if you were answering a freshman-level student and to keep your answers as short as possible while still getting the general meaning across.
Why didn’t my event or news item get picked up by any media outlets?
One of the toughest jobs a reporter and news editor face each day is to find the best and most compelling stories to fill a small amount of space.
While newspapers have several pages and multiple sections to fill each day, much of the newspaper is taken up by advertisements, rather than stories. Also, both radio and television news shows have finite amounts of time on the air – radio news updates often only last five minutes whereas most news coverage on the nightly news only makes up 10 minutes of a 30 minute broadcast.
For tips on how to get your story picked up, please visit the What’s Newsworthy? page.
A reporter wants to do a story on a project that I am working on that is not related to UNO. Do I still need to alert the UNO Media Relations Coordinator?
In the event that there is something the media is interested in you doing that is outside of your normal UNO duties or does not affect UNO in some way, there is no need to alert UComm. However, we are always happy to share stories of our students, faculty, and staff in the UNO News Center and other media and would love to share the story with the campus community.
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