It’s an exciting opportunity when a member of the media contacts you for a quote or a story. It’s often a chance to share your work and/or expertise with the public — and it helps boost UF’s national reputation. But did you know you have a resource to help you navigate these requests, avoid common pitfalls and put your best foot forward?
A journalist may contact you directly for many reasons:
- Seeking a quote
- Seeking a comment on a national trend or story
- In response to a press release or a recent publication
- To find a patient source
- A part of a story on one of your patients
- As part of an annual coverage
- Gathering background info on a topic
If a journalist emails you, what should you do?
Before answering, please forward the email to your media relations contact, Marilee Griffin: email@example.com. She will quickly vet the request and coordinate with you as needed to fulfil it.
If a journalist calls you, what should you do?
Before submitting to an interview or assisting the reporter: thank them for the opportunity and ask that they first contact your media relations person, Marilee Griffin: 352-273-5718 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Marilee will quickly vet the request and coordinate with you as needed to fulfil it.
But why do I need to loop in my media relations contact from the start?
- Your media relations person is very experienced in quickly vetting and fulfilling media requests. She is able to anticipate their needs and help you avoid potential pitfalls.
- She regularly receives updates from the main UF Health Communications regarding potential sensitivities and issues that may be unknown to you.
- She can help you avoid potential HIPAA issues (as well as coordinate patient consent forms, as needed) and/or update the IRB, leadership as needed.
- She will log the request in the media relations database and can track/share the resulting clips.
- She can offer you media training, if necessary.
- She can help expedite and coordinate the actual interview.
- She may be able to establish a relationship with the reporter or outlet, so they are more likely reach out to her in the future when they need an expert.
A journalist wants to come interview me somewhere on campus. Is that OK?
Usually, it’s fine. However, UF Health policy — as informed by HIPAA — states that members of the media need to be escorted by your media relations person while on UF Health campus. This is especially the case if the meeting location is near a patient area or lab space.
I want to speak to the reporter as a citizen, not using my UF/UF Health affiliation. Do I still need to contact my media relations person?
If the interview takes place off campus and after hours, probably not. (There is no downside in making her aware, though!) However, if the request involves (or veers into) your work, your opinion on a health care issue or your position in another professional organization, please inform your media relations contact.