News and Press Releases
What is News?
The Office of Marketing and Communications offers expertise on what information constitutes newsworthy content appropriate for the College, corporate partners, alumni, contributors, and friends of the institution. Although the content of specific news can change from day to day, one can generally apply a simple definition to what the Office of Marketing & Communications considers news: a report of recent events and/or previously unknown information.
Thus, news is any information that has broad interest to one of the many intended audiences of HFC. There must be a sense of timeliness to news. For example: If you attended a major conference and presented a paper, notifying the Office of Marketing and Communications 7-10 business days in advance of the event will allow staff to distribute a news release to local, state, national, and international media as appropriate. In return, these media outlets could carry—at their discretion only—this information in publications or broadcasts, thereby increasing exposure to the College and the ongoing work of faculty. According to the U.S. Department of State, there are many “news values” that make information newsworthy: timeliness, impact, proximity, controversy, prominence, currency, oddity and type of news, among other variables.
Additionally, for HFC community members, the Office of Marketing and Communications utilizes My HFC for faculty, staff, and current students. This resource provides opportunities for HFC community members to present news information to a more focused group who may be interested in upcoming events and activities that impact only the HFC community. All faculty, staff, and students should contact the Office of Marketing & Communications at 313-317-6800 or via email to learn more about how we can help you spread the word about your recent activities and information that could be of positive impact to HFC constituents.
Is your idea newsworthy?
When deciding whether or not your idea has “legs” in terms of potential media impact, the first step is to call the Office of Marketing and Communications. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the potential of a news item with all faculty, staff, and students. We want all HFC community members to contact us if they are unsure whether or not an idea has media potential or merit. If, however, you are unable to contact the Office of Marketing and Communications and wish to try and decipher whether or not an idea is newsworthy, consider the following questions:
- Who is involved?
- What has happened?
- Where did this occur?
- When did the thing take place?
- Why did it happen?
- How did it come about?
The Office of Marketing and Communications can assess your idea and determine its fit with regard to the type of news item it may fall under. For example, the Office of Marketing and Communications provides feature-length stories, hard news stories, and a blend of the two depending on topic and potential for media spread. Hard news often deals with the news of the day—war, politics, business, and crime represent good examples of hard news. A story about a faculty member engaged in alternative energy research that could save consumers millions of dollars could enjoy a larger readership and represents an opportunity to develop a longer feature piece. The one question we often pose to faculty or staff when they are trying to determine whether or not their activity or research is worthy of a news story is as follows: If someone was walking past HFC on the sidewalk right now unaware of your research or idea, how would you show them the tangible impact of this research on their lives?
In addition, ask yourself if the item you wish to promote to the greater media has the potential to positively influence a student’s decision about attending HFC or an individual’s thoughts about whether or not to support the College financially. This is of critical importance now and in the future. How we best position HFC to all constituents—but in particular to students—is an important consideration.
Working with the Media
The Office of Marketing and Communications is always looking for opportunities to connect faculty, staff, and students to media representatives in a way that will positively promote the mission and vision of HFC. As the resident media experts with more than 25 years of media experience, it is important that all HFC community members contact the Office of Marketing and Communications before media contact under the following circumstances:
- When a representative from the media contacts you about contributing to a story or news item;
- When you are asked to quote on a controversial subject;
- When you require assistance in terms of developing a message to communicate to the media; and
- When you are preparing for an on-screen interview or news broadcast in which you will be asked to quote on a subject.
In the event that you are unable to contact a staff member, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org regarding the media contact with the following information:
- When did you meet/speak with the media?
- What media outlets did you speak with?
- When did the interview/request for information take place?
- What was the name of the media representative and what media organization do they represent?
- What was the subject of the media inquiry?
- What is the gist of what you said?
While it is most beneficial that faculty, staff, and students contact the Office of Marketing and Communications prior to contact with the media, we realize this is not always possible. We ask that in this circumstance, please use your best judgment when speaking with any media representative. Make contact with the Office as soon as possible following the interview. This will allows us to track the media opportunity and develop a list of where this interview appeared in print and broadcast news programs.
Sample Story Ideas
The Office of Marketing and Communications is fortunate to work with many talented faculty, staff, and students. The HFC News site at www.hfcc.edu/news contains a full list of recent stories as well as a link to search for older stories. Users can type in the story subject or title to obtain search results. This site provides an exhaustive example of the kinds of stories the Office often pursues. Additionally, we often hear of exceptional ideas for stories and enjoy pursuing these ideas for publication. If you have an idea but are unsure if it may have media potential, please contact the Office and we will be happy to discuss it in detail.
The following is a brief list of some of story categories we will write about in no specific order:
- faculty, staff and student research, events and activities;
- entrepreneurship opportunities;
- events such as conferences and presentations;
- new initiatives;
- new partnerships with corporations, schools, organizations;
- community events in which HFC plays a role;
- awards such as teaching and research awards;
- economic development efforts for the local, region, state and national communities;
- alumni activities of note;
- fundraising achievements; and
- grant awards and supported research.
If you wish to have the Office of Marketing and Communications develop a news story or event notification, please note the following important information.
- Submit your information at least two weeks in advance of the story or event deadline. Because the Office is staffed by a few individuals, providing requisite lead time is essential.
- Due to shifting weekly priorities from leadership and the Board, we are unable to receive lists of events at the start of the term. It is thus necessary for those requesting services to adhere to item 1 above, due to staffing and capacity capabilities.
- When sending information, be sure to frame the information around the following: who, what, where, when, why, how come, contact information for more details and website links if applicable.