Working with the Media
When the media calls...
Always return media phone calls promptly and answer as fully as possible any questions you feel generally qualified to answer. Please remember that the more we help working journalists with their stories, the more receptive they will be when we pitch stories about Pomona College and our experts.
If you are asked questions relating to a Pomona administrative policy or decision or questions relating to a topic you know to be sensitive, please refer the call to Pomona's spokespeople Cynthia Peters (909-621-8515) or Mark Wood (909-621-8158). In such cases, please give the reporter the 621-8515 phone number and call the Office of Communications to tell us of your concerns.
Queries Concerning Your Area of Expertise
- Return calls as quickly as possible. Often reporters have tight deadlines. If you don't have time to talk immediately, call to ask about their deadline. If you cannot help, please let them know.
- Write down the reporter's name, phone number, affiliation, and deadline for the story. This helps if you get disconnected. If the requested information is not in your general area of expertise, please suggest an alternative source if you know of one. This will earn you and the college good will from the reporter.
- If you would like a few minutes to think about an issue before commenting, explain this to the reporter and offer to call back in 5-10 minutes. Most will be able to give you at least that much time.
- If the request involves a recent announcement or study or involves a breaking news story, a reporter or editor will often be able to e-mail or fax you information that may not yet be available publicly. In this case, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for time to review the new information.
- Be concise and keep your language simple, as though you are explaining your point to your neighbor. This helps ensure more accurate quotes. Remember, the reporter probably is not an expert in this area, and most of his or her listeners or readers are not either.
- If you are explaining a complicated issue or discovery, feel free to take your time, particularly with a print reporter. Most reporters are willing to repeat what they have written down as your explanation.
- Offer relevant examples and analogies for perspective and clarity, if appropriate.
- Make sure that you understand the question and the reporter's point of view. The key to a good interview is a good grasp of the reporter's angle.
- Be sure to correct any errors in a question.
- Estimates or general understandings are fine, but never guess at an answer. It may show up in print.
- Do not assume that "off the record" comments will not be used or paraphrased, though most often they are not.
- At the end of the interview, double check that the reporter has noted your name, title and Pomona College affiliation correctly, including spelling.
- Ask the reporter if he or she knows when the story will appear in print or on air. The Communications Office will then be able to better track the results.
- Don't hesitate to call the reporter back if you think of or find new information that may be helpful.
- Lastly, e-mail Cynthia Peters in Communications with information about the interview (reporter's name, media outlet, subject, date and time of airing or print date). The Communications Office will try to get you a copy of the result.
Special Tips for Broadcast Interviews
- Before the interview, think about the two or three points you want to be sure you convey on the subject. Prepare those in short "sound bites" and rehearse.
- Don't start the interview until you are physically comfortable. Do not sit in a chair that swivels or rocks if it can be avoided.
- Do use shorter words and avoid jargon. This makes your points easier to understand by viewers.
- Speak to and look at the interviewer, not the camera. It is easier to talk to a person.
- In an interview, do not be afraid to stop in mid-answer if you need to rephrase. Most interviews are edited later anyway.
- Remember that off-camera comments may still be used by the reporter who could summarize them. Don't say anything you might regret.
- For television interviews, remember that solid colors often look best. Small prints tend to be distracting on camera.
- For live radio interviews, double check the time and who is supposed to call whom.
- Lastly, please remember that it is nothing personal if a breaking news event bumps or cancels your interview.
Publicizing New Research
The Communications Office can help you publicize results from your latest research. Possibilities include: posting a news release or feature on the Pomona Web; sending a news release to local newspapers; sending an expert advisory, when appropriate, over our local wire service and to editors of national newspapers, magazines and radio programs; and pitching you as a potential guest on National Public Radio programs such as "Marketplace," "Larry Mantle's Air Talk," and "All Things Considered," and other similar programs. We are also very interested in student research and projects. For more information, contact Cynthia Peters at (909) 621-8515.
Pomona College events are publicized online -- just click "more public events" on Pomona's homepage. The Communications Office also publicizes events through a monthly calendar news release distributed to the Claremont Colleges Calendar and local newspapers. In some cases, Communications may determine that an extended release focusing on just one event may also be appropriate. Following are the submission guidelines.
Public Events Calendar Online
To be included in the Public Events Calendar Online, events must be open to the public, be sponsored by a Pomona College entity (department, office, student group, etc.), and preferably be held on campus. All submissions must include: name of event, speaker, speaker affiliation, date and time of event, location, and contact person with their phone and email address. Submit your event information by clicking "more Public Events" on Pomona's homepage. Then click "submit event."
Events must be open to the public and sponsored by a Pomona College entity (department, office, student group, etc.), and preferably be held on campus. All submissions must include: name of event including notation if it is part of a named lecture series, speaker's name, speaker affiliation, 1-2 sentences of information on the speaker, date and time of event, location and whether it is wheelchair accessible, applicable fees if any, and contact person with their phone and email address. Send information to: Cynthia Peters or you may submit an event online. If you have questions, call (909) 621-8515.