PR Training

Media relations for UC ANR

Your program and UC ANR benefit from media exposure. The news media extension ANR research results and recommendations to a large audience and the publicity information taxpayers and decision-makers about accomplishments they make possible by investing in UC Cooperative Extension.

The following media relations tips will go a long way toward making your encounters with reporters positive and productive.

Cultivate relationships

  • Allow time in your schedule to work with the news media.
  • Follow reporters on Twitter and engage with their posts. Tag them in your posts when you have new, relevant information to share.
  • Respond to media emails and phone messages as soon as you can. Many reporters need sources quickly. Tomorrow is almost always too late.
  • Help reporters find online background information, including research reports, newsletters, journal articles and other story sources.

When a reporter calls

  • Ask a few questions before the interview begins.
    • What is the reporter's name and affiliation?
    • What is the story about?
    • Who is the audience?
  • If you are not the best source, direct the reporter to another academic or to a member of the Strategic Communications team.
  • Find out the reporter's deadline.
  • Tell the reporter you will call back. Take a few minutes to form your key messages, then return the call.

Preparation

  • Prepare three key messages in simple language, no jargon. Condense each key message into two or three sentences.
  • Anticipate tough questions and rehearse your answers.
  • Compile background information about the subject for the reporter. Include your name, title, organization, phone number and email address.
  • For in-person interviews, gather visuals. Meet the reporter at a research site or in a laboratory. Set up demonstrations, prepare examples or analogies. Offer simple, clear graphics and photos.

Tips for TV

  • Be professional and polite at all times, even when the camera's not rolling.
  • Look at the reporter, not the camera.
  • If standing, stand tall with arms relaxed at your sides.
  • Avoid distracting gestures.
  • Answer in short, targeted statements.
  • Try to avoid wearing solid white or patterned shirts.

During the interview

  • State your key messages early and often. You never know when the interview will end.
  • Answer the reporter's questions and add the specific points you want to make.
  • Be honest. If you don't know an answer, say so.
  • Never say "no comment." It raises suspicion and sets up barriers. Instead, explain why you prefer not to answer the question.
  • Be aware of questions that may evoke conflict in a story. Tell your story with positive words and don't repeat a negative statement in a reporter's question.
  • For radio and TV interviews, be precise and to the point. The sound bites reporters use are only a few seconds long.
  • Close the interview by restating your main messages.
  • Invite the reporter to call back for more information or to clarify points.
  • Ask the reporter to note in the piece that you are with UC Cooperative Extension and/or UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (they often conflate UC ANR with the campuses).

Additional PR resources are available on the Learning & Development site. 

Media training request

Please fill in the survey below to request media training from Strategic Communications.

For verification that you are human, please enter the following code in the box below:
SYAQLS

(if the code is not entered correctly, the survey will not be submitted)