“Media relations” is the interaction with the community via news media outlets in order to tell the Manchester Community College story. The director of public relations is the college’s designated public information officer (PIO). The PIO is responsible for serving as the “voice of the college” and managing MCC’s reputation by maintaining a positive community profile, which includes gaining coverage of MCC’s many newsworthy programs, projects and initiatives. The PIO has primary responsibility for media relations at Manchester Community College. See below for the details of the college’s policy on dealing with the media. Contact the PIO whenever you deal with reporters.
Release of Information Policy
Faculty and Staff Response to Media Calls
When faculty, including adjunct faculty, and staff members are contacted directly and asked to comment or provide information on a question or an issue that relates to the entire college — or is controversial or sensitive in nature — the reporter should be referred to the PIO, who will, in conjunction with senior administration, determine the appropriate spokesperson on behalf of the college.
If a member of the news media contacts a faculty or staff member directly to comment on a topic that is within an employee’s area of expertise, the employee may answer the questions, if he or she desires. In such cases, the faculty or staff member must immediately notify the PIO after speaking with the reporter. Such notifications are important if follow-up inquiries are needed with other college personnel, and to ensure the college communicates a coordinated and consistent response. If you are unsure of how to answer the question or have any doubts, get the list of questions from the reporter and the deadline. Remember, even if the deadline is immediate, you are not required to answer questions on the spot. Inform the reporter you will get back to them. Contact the PIO for guidance before returning the reporter’s call.
Guidelines for Dealing with Media
When the issue is non-controversial and limited to the faculty or staff member’s area of expertise, the following guidelines can be used when dealing with the media.
- Obtain the name of the person calling, the media organization and, if available, the anticipated release date for the print, broadcast or digital interview. If needed, provide your name and phone number for any follow-up questions the reporter may have. This information should be included when notifying the PIO.
- Be prompt, honest and helpful; do not offer speculation or answer a reporter’s question with “no comment.” Make sure you understand the reporter’s question and that the reporter understands your response. You can ask the reporter to repeat your comment or quote for clarification. Remember everything is on the record when speaking with the media.
- Whenever you talk to the media, it will be assumed that you are representing and speaking for the college. Personal opinions should be clearly and carefully identified as such to the reporter.
- Issues that should not be discussed with reporters include: legal issues, personnel issues, student issues, campus crisis or emergency response, and all questions that involve college ethics or integrity. The PIO will coordinate with senior administration, Human Resources and/or Student Affairs to determine the appropriate response, if needed.
FOIA and FERPA
As a state institution, Manchester Community College is governed by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which allows certain information to be provided to anyone who asks, including members of the public and the news media. However, as an institution of higher education, the college is also governed by federal and state laws that limit the type of information that can be divulged about students and employees.
Any media inquiries that involve information about specific students should be referred to the office of Marketing and Public Relations, which will coordinate a response with the office of Student Affairs. Such inquires will be handled in accordance to the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
This federal law protects the confidentiality of a student’s education record. For details, visit the website. Student information is checked and confirmed with the office of Student Affairs before being released to the media.
Any media inquiries regarding MCC faculty or staff should be referred to the PIO to coordinate a response with Human Resources. Through the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the college can disclose public information. The following personnel information can be disclosed without an employee’s written consent: employee name, verification of employment, name of position/job title, full- or part-time status, name of department, educational background, salary, town of residency and length of employment.
The Marketing and Public Relations department offers the following services to help promote your program, event, student success story, etc:
- Calendar items
- Event listings
- Media advisories
- Press releases
- Public service announcements
- Social media, i.e. Facebook
- Story placement
- Video news releases
For current stories and press coverage, check out the newsroom!