Steps for obtaining media coverage for KSU news and events

Intro

Is it newsworthy?

Deadlines

Who, What, Where, ...?

Contact the Office of Media Relations

Writing and distributing the release

Will you get coverage?

Intro

The professionals in the KSU Office of Media Relations are here to help you obtain publicity for campus news and events. Our office issues press releases, organizes press conferences, handles overall media relations and publishes Access, Access Online and Summit magazine.

In order for our office to handle publicity, a KSU department must sponsor the news or event.

The following information should help you get started with obtaining media coverage for your news or event. Please read through the guidelines and look at the online form. If you have questions, contact the Office of Media Relations at 770-423-6203.

Is it newsworthy?

While news and events are always important to the people involved, for the media to take notice there must generally be some unusual aspect to the story. For example, interesting visual opportunities may draw TV news cameras or print photographers. In general we have found that reporters will not cover conferences, speeches or lectures unless the topic is timely or the speaker is very well known.

Outside factors can also affect news coverage of an event. These factors include the timing of the event (does it meet media deadlines?), other events occurring at the same time—often on our own campus—or other news breaking that same day.

Keep in mind, all news outlets (including Access, the Sentinel and external news media) determine for themselves which stories to cover. Our office cannot guarantee media coverage for your event or story, we can only provide the background information and act as a resource. Also, newspapers generally run a story one time, this includes coverage of an extended program. Newspapers will run a story at the beginning or the end of a program, but not two or more times.

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Deadlines

While it is never too early to begin thinking about publicity for an event, it can quickly become too late. The media will rarely use stories after the fact. For specific information on deadlines and types of press releases, such as public service announcements, calendar items, tipsheets and news releases, click on these links.

The Office of Media Relations is not affiliated with the Sentinel, the KSU student newspaper. Click here for information about the Sentinel or call the editorial line at 770-423-6278.

Who, What, Where, ...?

In order to begin work on publicity, the media relations’ staff must have some basic information about your news or event. An easy way to provide the information is to answer the standard journalism questions: who, what, when, where, why and how.

Who is involved? Who is sponsoring the event, speaking, winning the award, participating in the conference? For major events, biographies of participants can be helpful. Contact names and numbers for sponsors are essential.

What is the event, story, news item about? Is it a concert, lecture, new academic appointment, etc? Are there visual opportunities that would interest photographers or TV news people?

Events: If your story involves an event, the following additional information is necessary:

    • Title of the event
    • Sponsoring group or individual with contact number
    • Whether the event is open to the public (Generally newspapers will only report on or list events that are open to the public
    • Ticket requirements, including price and where they may be purchased
    • Registration requirements
    • Phone number and Web site for additional information

When is the event/news, including day, date, time and length?

Where is the event happening? Be as specific as possible.

Why is the story or event newsworthy? What is the purpose of it? What makes it unique?

How was the award winner chosen, the speaker chosen, decision made, etc?

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Contact the Office of Media Relations

The next step, once you have all the information about your story or event, is to contact media relations. Our office can be reached at 770-423-6203 or you may email your information to: news@kennesaw.edu.

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Writing and distributing the release

In most cases, media relations staff will draft the press release and distribute it to the media. As mentioned above, our office cannot guarantee that any media outlet will cover the event. We do routinely post press releases on the University Relations Press Release Web Site.

Our staff will work with you to produce the press release, but we ask that you carefully check your facts before submitting information to us. We will double-check facts as we craft the release and will copy edit to be sure the release is written in the style that will generate maximum coverage. We follow Associated Press style, which is the style favored by many news outlets.

Press releases are distributed to all media that cover Kennesaw State University on a routine basis. When appropriate, our office can target reporters who cover specific topics.

When you draft your own release …

In addition to all the information covered in The 5 W’s, keep the following in mind when drafting your release:

• Keep the release short and to the point

A one-page, double-spaced release is generally long enough. Include the most important information in the first paragraph so that editors can easily find it. If photos or bios are available, mention them or attach them on a separate sheet.

• Avoid acronyms and jargon

All departments use jargon and abbreviations that outsiders do not recognize. Double check your release for such terms and replace them with the complete name or the more generally understood word.

• Avoid the use of adverbs and adjectives

News articles are fact-based, not opinion based, "the award-winning professor" is a fact, "the popular professor" is opinion.

• Quotes

Opinions can be used if attributed to a person. For example: "Dr. Doolittle is the best professor in the whole department," said KSU student Linda Liar. But never manufacture quotes. Always get approval for a quote from the person you’re quoting.

• Style

Again, most news outlets prefer Associated Press style. A copy of the Associated Press Stylebook can be found in the bookstore. Please note, any releases drafted by you and sent to our office for distribution will be edited for style.

• Distribution

The Office of Media Relations would prefer that you not distribute releases yourself for a couple of reasons:

  • We have developed relationships with reporters and editors and releases sent on our letterhead generally receive more attention than those sent on department letterhead.
  • We may get a call from a reporter about your press release (they’ll see Kennesaw State and automatically call our office for more information) and we won’t have any information to give the reporter.

Will you get coverage?

Once the press release is distributed, each media outlet will decide whether to cover the event or story. Reread the "Is it newsworthy?" section for more information on this.

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