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Western Colorado's Selective University

Faculty Information

Colorado Mesa University faculty members are encouraged to interact with the media and the community on any occasion. Community involvement is vital to the mission of Colorado Mesa University.

Daily headlines feature stories about education, government, the environment, medicine, and much more. To help inform the public and enhance the exchange of differing views, the Office of Media Relations seeks to communicate the University's work by increasing our presence in the media. We promote new research findings, events, major studies, forthcoming books, student and faculty achievements or honors, and other things that might be unique to Colorado Mesa.

How we help you:

  • We can help develop strategies that enhance your media and community presence.

  • We can generate information for the media such as press releases, news advisories, public service announcements, departmental information, or background information.

  • The Director of Media Relations can assist in placement of op-ed pieces in newspapers.

  • We not only field calls from reporters, but we make calls to reporters. We can find a niche for your story, but only if you share it with us.

  • We will also notify you of media stories concerning your areas of expertise and interest.

How you help:

  • Tell us when the media contacts you for your input into a story they are doing. This helps us track news coverage regarding your area of expertise and Mesa State College, in general.

  • Please keep us informed of any changes in your biographical information. This helps us truly use your expertise and knowledge when the media asks for an expert.

  • Don't wait for us to call you. We don't catch every story. If you see something that appears in the newspaper, on television, or on the radio, let us know. Also, keep an eye on the journals that you receive. Often times, new information hasn't reached the media yet, and we can prompt stories.

  • Keep us involved ... early. The sooner we know about new research discoveries and upcoming publications, the more information we can gather and the more success we will have with the media.

  • Let us know if there is a problem. If you are uncomfortable talking to a particular reporter or about a particular issue, just say so. We are used to hearing people say "no". If you will do newspaper or magazine interviews, but are hesitant to do television or live radio interviews, that's okay. We will make sure that you work with people and situations that make you the most comfortable. Plus, we offer one-on-one or group media training if you are interested in improving your presence or style.

Advice for interviews:

  • Return media calls promptly. Most reporters are working three or four stories each day. They are also under tremendous deadline pressure. There is still a lot of work that has to go into any story after they have completed an interview. The sooner they hear from you, the better.

  • Don't get pressured into answering questions on the spot. If a reporter calls you about an issue, it is okay to ask to call them right back. Get some information together. Prepare a brief cheat sheet that includes the points you want to make. The interview is YOURS, not theirs. Make it work for you.

  • Close the office door, turn off the radio, and close the website. It is important to minimize distractions so that you can concentrate on exactly what the reporter is asking. This will not only make your answers more concise, but will allow you to truly "hear" the reporter. Close listening skills will often reveal the reporters bias on an issue. Then you know if you are educating the reporter, offering fresh insight and perspective, or preaching to the choir.

  • Have a business card ready for the reporter... even over the phone. Make sure that you spell your name and title. This will minimize mistakes in the long run.

  • Reporters don't just call and ask people's opinions for nothing. If they are calling you, you can expect to be quoted. If a reporter promises that something is "off the record", make sure that you trust the reporter. Trust with journalists is built over time. If you haven't dealt with a reporter before, make sure that all of your comments (even "off the record" ones) are fit to go on the record.

  • Keep it simple. Though it isn't the fourth grade reading level we've heard about, reporters do try to make information simple for the reader. If you are talking quantum physics and the reporter is "dumbing it down", expect mistakes. Try to make the information understandable for the public. Explain it in the same way you would explain material in a 101 or "Intro to..." class.

  • If you don't know, say so. Reporters are not trying to make you look bad. The biggest mistakes in interviews are made when you force answers. Take your time and only answer what you know. While you may advise students to "guess" if they don't know the answer on a multiple choice question, you can quickly spot the ones who don't know the answers on an essay exam.

  • If you make a mistake, fix it. Don't hope that no one will notice. If you catch a mistake before the reporters deadline, call them directly. If you find a mistake after the publication is printed or the interview has aired, contact the Office of Media Relations. We need to know if mistakes are being made by certain media outlets and/or reporters so that we can prevent future problems for your colleagues.

  • Use your title with the University when conducting interviews in your area of expertise. However, you should use care when interacting publicly outside of your role as a faculty member. Realize that when you speak out publicly at a forum, write a letter to the editor, or argue with someone at a cocktail party, you are doing so as a private citizen. Your views may not reflect those of Colorado Mesa University, your school, your department, or your colleagues. It is also a violation of state law to campaign or support a political cause while "on the clock". Because faculty hours are not specifically set outside of the classroom, please use your best judgment to avoid the perception that you are championing a cause as a state employee.

  • It is not uncommon in this media market for a reporter to contact you directly. Reporters are NOT required to receive approval in advance from the Media Relations office, though we strongly encourage such action. If you do conduct an interview, please advise the Media Relations office so that we can track the story.

  • In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, or when approached for comment on criminal or civil actions, please direct questions to the Media Relations office. Because of liability issues and the potential for rapidly changing information, it is best to have all information come from the media relations director.

  • If you are unsure or don't feel right about an interview... contact Media Relations. We get paid to run the gauntlet with the media. You should not have to answer questions or conduct interviews if you are not completely comfortable.

  • Outside of business hours? You or the media can contact Media Relations 24 hours a day by cell phone at 970.640.0421.