Frequently asked questions
I've got a busy schedule. Why should I work with the media?
Taking time to share your news with a reporter is good for the campus, as it gets the word out about UC Berkeley's excellence and builds support for the campus. It's good for you, too: A news story is the best way to promote your work to an audience of thousands, even millions, of people. Media Relations' press releases also go online in the UC Berkeley NewsCenter, inviting even wider readership. Lastly, working with the media fulfills UC Berkeley's obligation as a public institution to keep Californians informed about campus research, teaching and scholarship.
I've had a bad experience with a reporter, and now I'm wary of the media. Any tips?
Try not to let one incident, such as being misquoted or misunderstood, color your view of all reporters. Being prepared for an interview is the best way to avoid a negative outcome. Media Relations offers coaching on what to do when a reporter calls and holds monthly media training workshops to ready you for print and broadcast interviews. On a moment's notice, we also can provide advice by phone and even sit in on an interview, if you'd like.
Does your office write press releases?
Media Relations is the central office at UC Berkeley for conveying and disseminating campus news. Our staff knows the media well and can advise you on the best way to get your news out, and to whom. Press releases and other correspondence from Media Relations bear the campus's logo and are familiar to and respected by reporters.
How does Media Relations find news on campus?
The staff is organized using a "beat" system, with most of us responsible for certain academic disciplines and issues on campus. We have two staff members, for example, who primarily cover science. The Media Relations team looks for campus news by building strong working relationships with people like you. We also rely upon you to Contact Media Relations when you have news to share.
How far ahead of time do I need to contact Media Relations for a press release about my news?
Ideally, we need about two weeks' notice. This allows us time to gather information on your work, do interviews, write a news release, get your approval and decide which reporters to alert. But the more lead time the better, especially if the news is complex, controversial or will make major headlines. Still, if you Contact Media Relations with news on short notice, we will do our best to help.
My research is going to be published in an academic journal. Should I alert your office?
Yes, if you think your work is newsworthy. Contact Media Relations as soon as you find out, so there's time to talk with you about your research findings and determine the best plan to share your news. Media Relations is very familiar with issuing embargoed news releases, respecting a journal's requirement that it publish the story first.
What if I'll be presenting research at a professional meeting, or testifying before government leaders?
If your presentation will be on a major topic in the news, please contact Media Relations a few weeks in advance.
Are reporters or cameras allowed into my classroom or office building?
Not without permission. Broadcast media may film open, outside areas of campus and people at a distance, but they need an OK to go inside buildings, so as not to disturb classes or other campus business. They also need permission to film anyone who could be identified easily on TV. Individual professors or instructors can decide whether to allow a reporter or camera crew into class. The Broadcast Studios and Services page has more information about how Media Relations can help you with TV and radio requests.
If I have expertise on a topic in the news, how do I get my name out there?
Media Relations promotes campus experts in several ways. An experts directory, organized by topic, is at the UC Berkeley NewsCenter; we add to it and update it regularly. When there's breaking news, we also alert reporters about available campus experts, through a news release, media advisory, or sometimes just by phone or e-mail. If you're an expert on a hot topic, Contact Media Relations. We'll be in touch immediately.
I'm comfortable talking with the print media, but not with TV crews. Can you help?
Yes. Media Relations leads a successful media training sessions for individuals at all levels of comfort and ability that include help preparing for interviews with broadcast media.