All questions regarding this document or press can be directed to
Amanda Blancato, Assistant Director of Media Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pratt’s Press Office role is to partner with our academic and administrative colleagues* to promote news that is taking place in and impacting our community. This document gives context to new and current faculty, staff, and students on how to work and partner with Pratt’s Press Office on all media opportunities that relate directly to your role as a member of the Pratt community (employee or student).
In general, news items and stories are proactively shared with media outlets to increase press coverage. The Press Office works strategically to increase Pratt’s positive visibility in the press, mitigate negative news, and ultimately help shape the narrative.
Journalists also contact Pratt’s Press Office to identify and connect with faculty experts or to learn more about Pratt happenings for potential inclusion in their stories. Our team of press experts work with reporters spanning Pratt’s disciplines, as well as local and higher education reporters. Our robust list of media contacts is supplemented by top-level media software.
We team with our partners across campus and serve as a clearing house to ensure a positive, coordinated experience working with the external media, resulting in coverage that is aligned with Pratt’s mission and values.
Preparing spokespeople for interviews and staffing interviews
The Press Office prepares everyone, from the president to faculty, staff, and students, ahead of a media interview. In addition, a member of the team will be there staffing your interview with the reporter.
Why is this important? Being present in an interview allows us to chime in to expand coverage, follow up with the reporter with needs discussed in the interview (e.g., research, statistics, other assets), and facilitate additional interviews.
Ensuring that all media efforts are coordinated
Given the scale and large scope of Pratt and its disciplines, there is much news to promote and our office is constantly pitching reporters at print, broadcast, and online venues. Our role is to streamline conversations with the media, preserving a constructive relationship and a positive experience working with Pratt.
Why is this important? We seek to represent Pratt in the best light possible, meaning that all communications and messaging are coordinated. Having a member of the Press Office as the conduit to the press allows this to happen. Having multiple individuals from Pratt reaching out to a reporter can cause confusion, which we seek to avoid.
HOW TO WORK WITH A REPORTER WHEN I AM REPRESENTING PRATT INSTITUTE
You are representing Pratt Institute if you are asked to speak about your work in relation to Pratt, i.e. if you are a visiting professor who is speaking about a course you are teaching at Pratt.
Bring us in from the outset. If a member of the media is seeking to speak with you (or one of your students), please share the request with the Press Office immediately. As stated above, there are numerous communications going out from Pratt on a daily basis to a diverse range of media outlets and reporters. We are constantly in conversation with the press. It is important for us to be aware of all media opportunities to be able to evaluate and manage requests.
Try saying, “Thanks for your interest in speaking with me. I’m going to loop in Pratt’s Press Office to help facilitate. They will be able to help answer your questions and explore if the story/opportunity is a match for Pratt. They’ll get back to you shortly.”
Note: For faculty/staff who are approached for an interview where you are not representing Pratt, i.e. it’s about your professional work outside of Pratt, or something unrelated to Pratt, you do not need to include the Press Office. If the opportunity has anything to do with Pratt at all or if there is any confusion, please contact Amanda Blancato to discuss the opportunity @email@example.com.
Great! Our office will work with you and your media contact to help schedule and, in some instances, see if we can build out the opportunity in a broader way. By bringing us in from the beginning, we can advise and assist, not only in story development but also in assigning our resources to assist you. As a reminder, members of the press cannot be on campus unescorted.
Yes. As mentioned above, the Press Office is constantly in conversations with the media and there is a chance we are talking to the person you are seeking to contact. We may have helpful information to share or ways to build out your plans. Again, it’s important that reporters not receive multiple one-off requests from Pratt. If we are aware of all conversations with the media, we can help streamline.
Additionally, we understand and respect the various reasons for cultivating relationships with individuals being honored or serving on panel discussions, including reporters, journalists, etc. We look forward to working with you to coordinate interview opportunities that will help to raise the positive visibility of that individual and of Pratt.
Let us know if you are interested in writing an opinion piece. Our office has experience submitting op-eds and can provide guidance on topics, timing, outlets, and the submission process. We will talk through the idea with you and help consider and research logistics (e.g., Does the outlet publish contributed pieces? What is the word count? etc.)
The Press Office assists with difficult or controversial inquiries, including crisis management.
Prior to and during the interview, our team helps field tough questions by identifying the appropriate spokesperson, providing institutional talking points, and keeping track of follow-up items discussed during the interview. Our team is aware of similar inquiries that come to other faculty and staff, and can connect resources.
Public quotes from Pratt’s president must be discussed with Pratt’s Press Office. Before discussing a possible quote from the president with an external organization, contact the Press Office. The Press Office will assess the situation and move forward directly with the outside organization and with the president, if the opportunity is viewed as a match. The Press Office may also recommend a more appropriate leadership voice at Pratt to provide a stronger quote that is more related to the subject matter at hand.
Yes! We understand many of you are experienced artists, designers, architects, creatives, etc. and often work with the press for your firms, galleries, etc. We encourage faculty and staff who are regularly featured in the media to showcase your Pratt affiliation and pride, when appropriate, on your CVs, in your bios, and as a mention, so the public identifies you as part of the Pratt community. This said, if questions arise about the Institute, the Press Office should be brought in.
Example: Including your Pratt title in the bio you provide to a media outlet, “Jane Smith, Visiting Associate Professor of Interior Design, Pratt Institute.”
PRESS RELEASE PROTOCOL
Make an appointment with the Press Office early, so we can plan with you the best way to get attention based on your goals. In preparation for this meeting, it is helpful to have a paragraph describing the project, as well as images if possible at the time.
We are often contacted specifically for a press release, when there are several other promotional channels Pratt Communications and Marketing (PCOMM) can suggest that may be a better fit. As a general rule, press releases are only used for high-level institutional announcements, and even then are part of a broader promotional strategy. Since our industry is based on relationships, we have more success emailing personalized pitches to our reporter contacts. If your goal is visibility for an event, exhibition, or project, a wide reach can be secured through paid promotion on social media and tailored by target audience/demographic to align with your promotional goals. Ask us about paid promotion. The benefits/reach is high and the cost is lower than you might think.
AFTER A PRESS INTERVIEW
Our role as the Press Office is to pitch story ideas, align interviews, and provide facts and various assets to a reporter. Though we can inquire about story angles, ultimately we do not have control of a reporter or publication’s editorial decisions. This is important to recognize when participating in press interviews and should be taken into consideration when agreeing to engage in an interview or to have your work, class, or exhibition shared with a reporter for consideration for coverage.
Once an article runs, we serve as your advocate by asking for corrections. Unfortunately, we cannot ask for edits that are not factual errors, or because an article is poorly written.
FILMING ON CAMPUS
This is a good and frequently asked question. We provide support with all on-campus, media-related opportunities. If the request to film is for another purpose—other than press coverage—please contact Antoinette Perry in Risk Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes. Connect us with the other organization’s communications team as soon as there is talk of making the initiative public or reaching out to the media. Any media outreach required to support a collaboration or partnership must be discussed between all teams involved in said opportunity.
Note: In addition to external partners, if you are working with elected officials, the Press Office needs to know before you reach out. We may already have requests out to politicians and it is important that Pratt is coordinated and not making multiple requests to the same politicians.
*Research centers at Pratt Institute work differently with the Press Office than faculty, staff, and students.
If you work in or lead a Provost’s Center that reports to the Research and Strategic Partnerships division within the Office of the Provost, you need to inform the Press Office of your conversations with the media as soon as possible. Please copy Executive Director of Public Relations Jolene Travis at email@example.com on your emails with reporters/media outlets to ensure Pratt’s Press Office is aware. The Institute’s Press Office could be working with the same reporter/media outlet on a different story, which could negatively impact the work being done on behalf of Pratt.
Additionally, Provost’s Centers are required to:
- Inform the Press Office before any event is attended or orchestrated by an employee of the research center that is also attended by members of the press in order to identify who Pratt’s PR team can connect with.
- Follow up with Pratt’s PR team after the event if an employee of the research center was interviewed for a quote so that Pratt’s PR team is made aware of the media sources and when the news is expected to come out.
- Share quotes drafted by the center any time there is mention of Pratt Institute, the president, provost, or associate provost (for press releases, for example) with Pratt’s PR team for review and possibly editing.
When a Provost’s Center is working with a reporter, a press statement is available, as needed, that serves as a disclaimer illustrating that the viewpoints (e.g., the Pratt Center, SAVI, et al.) are not necessarily aligned with that of the Institute:
Template: While the _______ Center is a department within Pratt Institute, the views expressed here are derived from their work and analysis and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of Pratt Institute.