BYU-Idaho employees are often contacted by both local and national media outlets for a wide range of stories. Learn how to work with the media and when University Relations should help.

March 18, 2016
Writer: Brett Crandall

BYU-Idaho employees are often contacted by both local and national media outlets for a wide range of stories. It is the hope of the university to maintain open, working relationships with media outlets that report on what happens at BYU-Idaho.

Personnel in each department or area should feel free to respond to questions by the media concerning their department or area. (It is assumed that the planetarium director knows the most about the planetarium, the ag chairman the most about the ag program, etc.) As a courtesy and to assist the university in building strong relationships with news media, the appropriate department head and University Relations should be notified before an information exchange, if possible. If an employee is concerned about the response, they are encouraged to contact University Relations.

Questions raised by the news media about an area other than the one an employee represents or about the university in general should be referred to the area in question or to University Relations for comment.

If questions are raised regarding issues about which one is not informed, it is acceptable to simply state, "I don't know." It is important that any information given should be accurate and that one be able to substantiate whatever statements are made.

Issues of a sensitive or controversial nature might best be answered with a statement prepared in cooperation with the University Relations office and the department involved, subject to review by the appropriate supervisor. Such a method of response provides the opportunity to thoroughly think through the issue and its ramifications and to respond accordingly. Such a statement should be anticipated and prepared in advance of any contact with the media, or the media should be informed that a formal statement is forthcoming.

When caught off guard by a reporter, any response can be difficult.
One should be aware that:
a. Anything said could be quoted.
b. When called by telephone unexpectedly, one can ask for time to prepare, i.e., "let me look into it; I will call you right back."
c. If asked in advance for an interview, one should feel free to ask what questions he/she will be expected to answer.

When a person or department desires to release information to the media, the proper procedure is to do so through University Relations. Qualified personnel, familiar with university policy and with the contacts and experience to effectively share news with the public, are available. Using University Relations helps to ensure that information going to the public will represent a positive and accurate image of BYU-Idaho.

For any media questions or concerns, contact BYU-Idaho Media Relations Manager Brett Crandall at 496-2020 or crandallb@byui.edu.