Our media relations staff helps promote Franklin & Marshall's research, scholarship and major events and other happenings that are 1) open to the public, 2) showcase the College's strategic priorities and 3) resonate with a wide audience. The campus calendar, message boards and Encore print and Web listings of cultural events are valuable tools that should be used to promote events that are open to the public. Events that are included in Encore are sent as calendar listings to regional media outlets, so it is important that these notices be completed at least a month in advance to ensure their inclusion in these listings. The deadline for inclusion in the print edition of Encore comes before the start of each academic semester as publication occurs in August and January.
For inclusion in magazines and other publications that have deadlines of three months in advance or more, event organizers should contact Director of Media Relations for assistance well before the deadline approaches.
The Director of Media Relations is available to advise which events may benefit from additional media outreach. Once it is decided a press release is warranted, event organizers may follow our Step-by-Step Guide for developing a news releases.
- Planning a news release. In general, press releases should be prepared at least two weeks in advance. A good place to start in compiling the information needed for a news release is to draft a calendar listing for events that are open to the public. This should include the time, date, place and purpose of an event, ticket information if appropriate and a contact name and number. Before developing a news release, you should make sure that guest speakers and others have given permission to publicize the event and advertise it to media.
- Draft the release. News releases always should include who, what, when, where, why and how of the event as well as the time, date and place where it will occur. Also important to include is information about any attendance restrictions, such as if the event is open to campus media only or if room for broadcast equipment is limited. At least one event organizer from the College should be quoted, discussing the purpose of the event and how participants may benefit. For news releases about speakers or other guests, a brief synopsis with biographical information that demonstrates the speaker's expertise on the discussion topic should be included. Event sponsors should be listed near the end. If the event is expected to attract a large group of media, an RSVP deadline -- typically two days before the event – should be included to allow time to make arrangements for space and technology needs.
- Designate a media contact. Whenever the College issues a media release, the Director of Media Relations is the contact. The director will coordinate interviews with the event organizers as appropriate. One of the event organizers must be designated to assist with these requests and to handle other logistics for media involvement such as parking arrangements and advice about accommodations and meals. In most cases, once the release is developed, the Media Relations staff will disseminate it. Alternatively, our office will provide a list of media contacts for others to distribute the release after our review. Any press release mentioning Franklin & Marshall College should be reviewed with our office. It is our policy as well that event organizers outside of the College coordinate with our office, which serves as the lead in promoting any event on campus.
- Complete release in a timely manner. The release should be ready for distribution at least a week in advance. Therefore, a completed draft should be submitted to the media relations staff at least 10 days prior to the event.
- Monitor media interest. The designated event contact should maintain a list of reporters who express an interest in coming to campus to cover the event, with their contact information, before, during and after the event. If broadcast media express an interest in attending, special arrangements must be made through the Office of College Communications (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Do you need special media seating? For events that are expected to draw a large number of media, you should arrange with venue managers to set aside a section of reserved media seating. Our office can assist in providing "reserved for media" signs to be placed on seats in the special media section.
- Setting up press seating. On the day of the event, the media section should be set up near the back of your venue, but on the main floor, to ensure speakers and guests seated near the front are not disrupted. Seats should be set aside on the aisle for photographers, as they are likely to move around during the proceedings, with their equipment.