“Media relations” is the interaction with members of the news media to tell the Manchester Community College story. Members of the Marketing and Public Relations department manage the college’s reputation by maintaining a positive community profile, which includes gaining coverage of MCC’s many newsworthy programs, projects and initiatives. Marketing and Public Relations has primary responsibility for media relations at Manchester Community College. For details of the college’s policy on dealing with the media, see below.
The Marketing department offers the following services to help promote your program, event, student success story, etc:
- Calendar items
- Event listings
- Media advisories
- News releases
- 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!
Release of Information Policy
Faculty and Staff Response to Media Calls
On occasion, faculty and staff at MCC may be contacted by members of the media. When faculty and staff members are 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 Marketing and Public Relations department, which 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 so desired. In such cases, the faculty or staff member should immediately notify the Marketing and Public Relations department after speaking with the reporter. Such notifications can be particularly 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 how to answer the question or have any doubts, get the list of questions from the reporter and inform the reporter you will get back to them. At that time, contact the Marketing and Public Relations department 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 utilized 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 or broadcast 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 Marketing and Public Relations department.
- 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.
- In responding to the media, you can be seen as representing and speaking for the college. Personal opinions should be clearly and carefully identified as such.
Issues that should not be discussed with reporters and forwarded to Marketing and Public Relations for follow-up include: legal issues, personnel issues, student issues, campus crisis or emergency response, or questions that involve college ethics or integrity. The Marketing and Public Relations department 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. The following information regarding MCC student’s directory information can be disclosed: student name, addresses, dates of attendance, enrollment status, full-time vs. part-time status, awards, honors and graduation (not including anticipated future graduation date). This information may be released without the written consent of the student. All other information is confidential and will be released only with written consent from the student for legitimate college purposes or as otherwise required by law. 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 Marketing and Public Relations 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 content: 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.
For additional information, contact Michael Jordan-Reilly at x2914.