Media Training Guide

At times, faculty members may be contacted by members of the media to discuss research, teaching or professional expertise. You are encouraged to respond to such requests. When working with members of the media, it's important to remember a few pointers.


Before an interview, a reporter will tell you the topic they want to cover. If they don't, it's okay for you to ask what information they will need so you can prepare. It's also perfectly legitimate to postpone the interview a few hours so that you can be better prepared. However, remember that reporters are often under tight deadlines. Select a few key points you wish to make and think about how to explain them as clearly as possible.

When dealing with negative press especially, never knowingly tell an untruth or exaggerate. Trust is a critical component to developing a positive and enduring relationship with the media.

Speaking in plain English and limiting jargon will help ensure the information you provide is well received and limits the opportunity for error and distortion. If you must use acronyms or unfamiliar terms, explain them.

Think of what the public would be interested in knowing. Help the reporter, and thus the public, understand the value of your work.

If you are unable to comment, give the honest answer. Using the phrase "no comment" gives the impression that there is something to hide.

Reporters are often under tight deadlines and need a response quickly. Timeliness to such requests fosters a relationship that is beneficial to both parties. Never argue. Rather be persuasive but not confrontational. The impression you give during your contact will likely influence how they cover the story and future stories. If you are unable or unwilling to respond to a request, forward the media inquiry to another knowledgeablesource.

Explain your points clearly, but keep in mind that space in news reports is limited.

If you don't think it should be published, don't say it. This doesn't mean that you need to be overly serious and colorless, just don't assume you can say something and then take it back.

Don't speculate. Stick to your area of expertise. If you don't know the details, connect the reporter with someone who does or get back to them after you have gathered the accurate information.

If you think what you are saying may reflect negatively on the university or the college, don't say it. Personal opinions should be clearly and carefully identified as such.

Let the us know if you've been contacted by the media. It's important that the college is made aware of any inquiries so that there is a coordinated and consistent response. Contact matthew.jensen@usu.edu or call 435-797-8170.