Working with the Media

Media Inquiries

As a public university, the administrators and faculty of Eastern Washington University have an obligation to respond to inquiries from the news media.

Most journalists are sincere professionals trying to do a good job. They want to get the information for their story—and they want to get it right. Sometimes the stories can be negative, but mostly the media likes to localize current affairs or topics of interest by talking to faculty or staff experts (such as a political science professor during election season).

There will sometimes be situations where Eastern cannot release certain kinds of information. This is why the news media should first make contact with the Media Relations Director, who can respond appropriately on behalf of the university.

Have a story to share or press release request?

A big part of MarCom’s mission is to share EWU’s unique story in support of student enrollment, university initiatives and fundraising. If you have news to share, please let us know.

Submit a Story

Media Relations Help

If you are the one who will be speaking with the news media, you may contact the Media Relations Director — during the day at work or before/after hours on his cell phone — for advice or guidance. The media relations office can also pass along information if you prefer not to speak to the media.

Dave Meany
Director of Communications & Media Relations
P: 509.359.6335

When a news story has many components and is larger in nature than the “average” story, sometimes the media relations expert gathers requested information from a variety of sources and relays it back to the news media. In such cases, the university is speaking in once voice, minimizing the possibility of misinformation being reported.

Spotting Possible Media Issues

There are some events that occur on campus which are likely to draw the attention of the news media, such as a protest or a high profile crime. When these occur, the EWU Police Department and media relations expert works with the administration to disseminate information.

Talking to the Media

First, here are a couple of don’ts:
  • Don’t feel pressured to speak to the media. You have the right to say yes or no.
  • Don’t feel that you must respond on the spot. If you are asked a question that you are not prepared to answer at that precise moment, you should state (politely) that you need a few minutes to gather the information, or that you need to check a fact or simply that you’ll have to call back in a timely manner.
  • Never, never, never go “off the record.” This has come back to haunt many individuals.
  • Never say “no comment.” If you can’t respond to the question, say why: You don’t know the answer, a pending investigation, legal restriction, etc.
  • Don’t speculate, guess or share hearsay. This is dangerous and leads to inaccurate stories.
  • Don’t use “educationese.” Avoid words like “pedagogy” when “teaching” will do.
And now, some simple things to do:
  • Respond quickly. The media is most always on a tight deadline.
  • Be open, honest and helpful. This builds credibility and reflects well on Eastern.
  • State important facts first. Under deadline, reporters may not review all their notes. Repeat your most important point/points two or three times – that will make sure the message is correct.

Op-Ed Writing & Submission Tips

Writing successful Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor are great ways to highlight your area of expertise or advocate for the university. Please contact the communications office for guidance.

Please contact MarCom if you or your staff would like a media training session. It’s free and painless, and can make a big difference when the media comes calling.