Media Relations Procedure
Procedure Number: 4.21-P
Current Effective Date: 05/21/2021
Original Effective Date: 05/21/2021
Revision Dates: 0
Revision Number: 0
Revision Summary: implementation of new procedure
Responsible Official: KCTCS President
References: Administrative Policy 4.21
This procedures clarifies the process for interaction with the media at the System Office or colleges within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).
KCTCS is committed to open, honest communication with the public, and one important way we communicate is through the media. The colleges and System Office Marketing Departments (MD) are staffed with professionals who are trained to work with the media. This department is the designated contact point for the media and is the source of official information to the media
This Procedure applies to all KCTCS employees, students, colleges, offices, and workplaces, regardless of location and to all KCTCS-related conduct, policies, decisions, and actions.
3.1 Media Calls/Inquiries
If contacted by the media, faculty and staff members should quickly notify the Marketing Department so they can provide assistance. Pertinent information such as, the reporter’s name, which media outlet, the information requested and the reporter’s deadline need to be conveyed. MD, in consultation with the president and other leadership relevant to the topic, will decide who the appropriate spokesperson is for the situation and gather the information needed for the interview.
Although faculty, staff and students may speak with media, they do not speak FOR the college/KCTCS unless designated by the president and/or MD staff.
Reporters have strict deadlines that must be met, so it is important to respond quickly to media calls, preferably within one hour.
College or System Office personnel approached by the media off-site asking for an interview about KCTCS/College also are responsible for informing the MD, if possible, before, or immediately upon the conclusion of, the interview. Key details from the interview should be provided, including the reporter’s name, the media outlet represented, and a summary of the interview. This is to ensure KCTCS/colleges MD and leadership are aware of information that may be published.
If media contact faculty or staff for an interview regarding a subject matter NOT related to KCTCS or a particular college, the MD staff should still be notified, if the interview will take place on KCTCS property. The MD staff will make sure no information identifying the college is seen in the background or b-roll.
If you are contacted by a member of the media, immediately refer the call to the MD for assistance. Faculty and staff do not have to participate in media interviews and should not feel pressured to do so. The MD staff is available 24/7 to consult with administrators, directors, program chairs, faculty and staff about the most effective ways to work with the media.
3.2 New Releases/Statements/Talking Points/Media Interviews
College department or program leaders must coordinate all media events with the MD. All news releases, media advisories and other story pitches must go through the MD. The MD staff strongly encourages faculty and staff to share ideas for possible stories, especially good news, such as awards, student success, events on campus, etc.
If you are seeking publicity for an event, provide the MD staff with as much information as possible so they can draft a release or promote via another communication tool. If you are contacted by the MD staff for additional information needed in the development of news stories, please respond by the deadline requested. News releases submitted for approval of quotes and program information should be approved within one business day, except in cases where earlier deadlines demand a more immediate response.
Many times, the MD staff are not made aware of newsworthy events until after they have occurred. Usually, that is too late to get publicity. Please contact the MD staff at least two weeks in advance of your event – sooner if you want to schedule an interview on a TV news program or a radio talk show.
When issues such as legislation, tuition, scholarships or new programs affect the entire System, the System Office MD will develop statements and talking points for college spokespeople. In many cases, a donut news release also will be developed for colleges.
3.3 Media Spokespeople
Generally, someone from the MD staff or the president serves as spokesperson, but there may be times when it is beneficial to have others serve in that role. All media spokesperson designations are coordinated with the president and/or MD so that the System/college speak with one voice providing consistent messages. Additionally, it is recommended that any spokesperson for a college or the system attend spokesperson training.
Although faculty, staff and students may speak with media, they do not speak FOR the college/KCTCS unless designated by the president and/or MD staff. Any interviews given by someone who is not a designated spokesperson must include a disclaimer that the interviewee is NOT speaking on behalf of the college/KCTCS.
3.4 Media Procedures on College Property
Media are permitted to enter public areas of the campuses, but first should contact the MD so that the staff can help facilitate visits to campus. To shoot photographs or video, record audio and/or conduct any interview inside college facilities, members of the press must be accompanied by a MD staff member.
Access to classrooms and offices is not allowed without prior permission from the college. Media personnel who interrupt normal operations or do not comply with KCTCS policy may be asked to leave.
During emergencies, college or other officials may require media to remain within a designated media area for safety reasons.
3.5 Crisis Communications
KCTCS has a crisis communication plan in place that clearly defines roles and responsibilities for communicating with various audiences. Additionally, the System has a Crisis Communication Policy and Crisis Communication Procedures. The System Office/college MD should be contacted immediately in any type of crisis situation. Anyone who has knowledge of a smoldering (potential) crisis should make the department aware immediately.
It is important to limit social media posts during a crisis so that rumors and unconfirmed information are not reported. Official information that has been confirmed by first responders and/or the KCTCS crisis team will be disseminated from the MD. Please see the KCTCS Social Media Policy for more information.
3.6 KCTCS Information Requests
Colleges must consult with the System Office’s MD before responding to media requests for information relating to presidential searches, legal action, social media crises, academic misconduct, identity theft, security breaches, major campus crimes, allegations of fiscal mismanagement and any issues related to open records requests. When in doubt, confer with the System Office MD or Office of General Counsel.
Media requests for public records under the Kentucky Open Records Act should be referred directly to the KCTCS Office of General Counsel. In turn, the Office of General Counsel should inform the KCTCS MD of any open records requests originating from the media.
Questions regarding the Kentucky Fire Commission and Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services should be referred to those offices.