The Communication & Marketing Office is your on-campus connection to share your story with the world. From event posts and news releases to media pitches and featured stories online, on social media and in print, we are expert storytellers and know where to reach your audience. We are also the first point of contact for the media, so if you receive a request for an interview from a researcher, journalist, or communication staff from another organization or publication, please contact us first. We’re always available online at firstname.lastname@example.org and in the office at 828.251.6929.
If the request is urgent, please contact Sarah Broberg, or see our staff list on our website to find the most appropriate person to contact.
News Services: What’s Our Story
Each event, story, and campaign aims for an audience, and to share your story, we need to identify both the audience and the channels of communication to reach your goals. That’s why we have numerous channels to do so, and we’ll customize the strategy for your message.
Our office curates the University Editorial Calendar to schedule newsletters, send news releases, optimize event posts and web pages, share on social media, and publicize your news to local, regional, and national publications.
Our work includes:
- Daily news scans and social media monitoring
- “In the news” tracking and summary
- Weekly Wag employee newsletter
- Monthly UNC Asheville newsletter
- Departmental newsletter services, including content creation/curation, audience analysis, design assistance and delivery optimization
- Media partnerships with AVLToday newsletter and Blue Ridge Public Radio
- Media contacts with local, regional, national and industry-specific publications, specialized in higher education coverage
- Media pitches and response to media inquires
- Event posts and events calendar coordination
- News releases
- Social media messaging
- Feature stories, UNC Asheville Magazine and stories.unca.edu
- Annual reports
- Podcasts, photo coverage and videos
As a UNC Asheville staff or faculty member, you may receive requests for comment or information from:
- Professional reporters
- Student reporters
- Prospective students and their families
- Elected Officials, political or public interest organizations
- Professional peers at other institutions
Here’s a quick guide to handling these requests with professionalism that will serve you and the university well, and help get the request taken care of as smoothly as possible.
What should I do if a reporter, researcher, writer, etc. contacts me for a story?
If the person contacting you says that they are requesting an interview, writing an article or publishing your comment, please contact our office first and inform your supervisor. If their questions lead you to believe they are writing an article, you can also forward them to us. We’ll ask for additional information, starting questions, and their deadline to help determine the spokesperson for their topic and to provide a researched response so you can consider the response.
Please note that our students’ privacy is protected under federal law. If you ever get questions about individual students from a member of the public, please get the caller’s number and other relevant information and pass it along to the Student Affairs Office.
Prospective students and their families may also have questions. These typically go through the Office of Admission and Financial Aid but may come to your department or to you individually for subject-specific responses.
Requests from elected officials, political or public service organizations are directed to the University Advancement office, 828.251.6525
What if I receive a public records request?
If you receive a public records request (i.e. a request for all emails you’ve exchanged with another employee, or the line-by-line budget for your division) please forward that request to the Office of the General Counsel and to email@example.com. Public records requests may come from members of the public, not just reporters – please follow the same procedure.
What if I see a reporter on campus?
Generally speaking, reporters on campus should be accompanied by a C&M staff member when on campus, in order to protect students’ and faculty’s rights to privacy. So look for a C&M staff member wearing a name tag. If you don’t see one, please contact the C&M Office.
Open areas of campus are the equivalent of public streets – photographers and videographers have the right to record images without getting consent of those in view. However, the C&M Office has collegial relationships with the local professional media, and as a courtesy, they notify us of their presence and ask permission before doing interviews or using people’s images close-up.
At public events – athletic events, concerts, public lectures, etc. – there is no expectation of privacy, and the media (and members of the public) may take photos and videos..
One of my students requested an interview. What’s the process?
Students (including UNC Asheville students) in news writing or other Department of Mass Communication classes should receive the same professional treatment that we give the working press. This is also true for reporters from our student newspaper, The Blue Banner. Stories for news writing classes often end up getting submitted to The Blue Banner, and appear on the paper’s website.
I want to write an op-ed. Can I get help placing it?
Yes. C&M can help you think through where to submit your piece, how long to make it, and offer timing guidance. We have experienced writers/editors on staff who can offer editing help if you’d like, and we can place it for you or connect you with publications based on region and topic.
I’ve been contacted to share my expertise on a topic. Do I need to contact Communication & Marketing?
Yes, all media requests should come to our office for additional research and a response, but for faculty experts, the request will likely come back to you with additional details to determine your response. We provide media training and take care of initial steps, such as requesting starting questions and deadlines, researching the publication, and scheduling interviews on campus.
If a journalist requests to attend one of your classes, please contact C&M to discuss this in advance. C&M’s role will be to work with you to develop and enforce any ground rules that might be needed to protect the integrity of your class and your students’ privacy. Journalists should only be in a class if the professor has agreed in advance, and if each student consents.
If you are a faculty member receiving questions in your academic discipline, then you of course are free to offer (or decline to offer) your comments to the media as a matter of academic freedom. You may receive media requests directly from the reporter or from Communication & Marketing, as we frequently reach out to department chairs for media sources and faculty experts.
Best Practices in Media Relations
If you receive a call, email or in-person request, let the interviewer know that you’ll need to check with your supervisor and communication office first, and someone will get back to them shortly. Then, share the details and contact information for next steps. The University will need to determine a spokesperson based on the topic and situation.
Please do not offer to do an interview before checking with Communication & Marketing. Any employee who gives comment to a reporter is acting as a university spokesperson, speaking on behalf of the entire university. C&M and supervisory staff will determine the most knowledgeable and informed person to handle the questions. This might be you; it might not.
Never offer comment “off the record.” Such ground rules may be disregarded, so it is wise to refrain from any comments that would come back to haunt you if they went viral or appeared on a newspaper front page.