News Services and Advertising
Do you have news? Do you have an event to promote? Contact the News Service!
- Michelle Ma, Chief Communications Officer, email@example.com, 527-5768
- Gina Ohnstad, Media Relations Strategist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 527-5739
News Service/Media Relations
The Whitman College News Service is the media relations and news distribution arm of the college. It’s the “front door” for responding to most media inquiries, and the staff also executes proactive media relations through story pitching and disseminating news releases. In order to effectively distribute the news about our campus, faculty and students to the media, we need to be kept well-informed of the activities of the college and its people. The releases and features we research, write and distribute can be generally categorized into four types of news:
Advance news releases — to notify calendar editors of upcoming events, with the primary objective of publicizing the event in newspaper or online calendar listings. Advance releases, in the form of a media advisory or photo alert, also are used when appropriate to attract reporters to attend/cover events. Brief calendar versions are sent weekly to the Union-Bulletin entertainment guide, Marquee.
Features/Soft news — college events/accomplishments and student/faculty/staff/alumni profiles that are interesting and newsworthy but are not breaking news are often released in a feature story format.
News announcements — report such news as major changes on campus or when we receive an extraordinary award, honor or significant gift.
Home towners — releases sent to students’ hometown newspapers detailing student activities and honors.
Occasionally, a news conference may be the appropriate tactic. We would work with you to organize one when, for example, a professor has ground-breaking research to announce or the college has a speaker of such interest to the media that it becomes more convenient for the college and the individual to make remarks and answer questions at one specific time and place.
It’s important to know that...
We are unable to provide coverage for every event and happening, and we cannot guarantee press coverage of your news or publication of our releases. In spite of our experienced, skilled and professional media relations efforts, coverage and publication of your news or event are at the discretion of the various newspapers and radio and television stations.
Newspaper advertising and underwriting spots with Northwest Public Radio can be effective ways to “get the word out” for many events. The cost comes out of the sponsoring department’s budget, and advance notice of one to two weeks for print ads and two to three weeks for NWPR spots is required.
Here’s how it works
We need time to do our job well. Giving us enough time enables us to do the kind of work that will best serve your needs. This is perhaps the single most important guideline we can offer. Here are other tips and guidelines to follow as you work with us.
Media relations — Let us know when you talk to the media. If a journalist or editor calls you, please make us your next call. This enables us to offer any media training, assistance or advice you may need. It also enables our office to keep track of what the media finds interesting about Whitman and makes us more knowledgeable if we get follow-up calls about a story in progress or one that’s been published. Please respond promptly to the media. If you have a message from a journalist or from our office on behalf of a journalist, please give the request top priority attention. The media is calling on you because you are the expert, and they need to quote an expert to validate their story. But they have a deadline, and if they can’t reach you before that deadline, they will find another expert.
Event/calendar listings in local newspapers — This service is for only those events that are open to the public. Please submit information about upcoming events at least three weeks prior to Gina Ohnstad at email@example.com. This will enable us to write the release/calendar item and distribute it before the two-week newspaper deadlines. Information on these events is generally drawn from the Whitman Web Calendar our office relies on the campus community to work closely with the events office to keep this calendar accurate and up-to-date. When submitting information directly to the news/media relations office, it must be sent via e-mail and must include:
- Who is sponsoring/hosting the event
- What is the event
- When is the event
- Where is the event
- Whom should people contact to learn more about the event
- If any, what is the charge for the event