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Media Relations Procedures

Responding to Media

University Communications has sole responsibility for issuing official statements to media representing MSU and its units, and the university’s spokesperson and deputy spokesperson are uniquely authorized to speak on behalf of the institution.

While any employee is free to work with media on a story, we encourage those asked to provide comment beyond their areas of professional work, academic expertise or research and scholarly activity to contact University Communications for assistance.

University Communications may contact an administrator, faculty or staff member to assist with/respond to a media inquiry. In these cases, the administrator, faculty or staff member has been identified as a subject matter expert and University Communications staff will provide support to develop the response, as appropriate.

We are always available to consult with faculty or staff who have been contacted by the media. Please call the University Communications main number at (517) 355-7505 for assistance.

It is helpful for university employees who respond to media inquiries not referred to them by University Communications to advise the team of the conversation by sending an email to with the following information:

  • name of the outlet and reporter
  • date and time of conversation
  • summary of questions and main points of the responses provided
  • anticipated date of article publication, if possible

Any administrator, faculty or staff member contacted by the media concerning personnel matters, policy, fiscal operations, emergency situations or compliance with regulations and statues should refer the inquiry to

If a media situation is urgent or after regular work hours, please contact Vice President Emily Gerkin Guerrant at

Proactive Media Relations

University Communications works with colleges, units and researchers to draft and pitch news releases that highlight MSU’s global and national impact. Examples of news covered by the University Communications team includes the following priority areas:

  • Research results that advance knowledge and demonstrate world-class quality and innovation; additional criteria to consider, includes research that has:
    • been published in a peer-reviewed journal within the last three months (but not pitched to media)
    • national/global impact or a strong state news angle
    • an MSU researcher as the lead author; however, if MSU is not the lead author, the University Communications team will coordinate with partner institutions on publicity so please flag all research for the relevant media contact/beat writer
  • Application of knowledge in ways that address social and global problems and improve quality of life
  • Major grants, awards and partnerships that reflect MSU’s excellence, demonstrate its value as a go-to partner and illustrate its capacity to catalyze progress (major gifts/grants over $1 million are pitched to media)
  • International activity that demonstrates the breadth and stature of MSU’s global engagement and the significance of its global role
  • Economic development activity that shows MSU is an essential driver of competitiveness, quality of life and prosperity in Michigan and among the elite research universities that will help shape the future of U.S. competitiveness
  • Distinctions and innovations (first, best, only): ways in which MSU is using creative approaches and intelligent risk taking to set the standard for higher education
  • Student experiences and opportunities that are exceptional and reinforce one or more of the priority areas listed above
  • High-level awards (i.e., Rhodes Scholarship)
  • Top-tier rankings (i.e., Times Higher Ed, U.S. News & World Report) – news value is determined based on MSU’s year-over-year performance
  • A small number of carefully selected events based on news value and their alignment with the priorities listed above

In addition, University Communications identifies opportunities for faculty to connect with major media outlets as subject matter experts and facilitates placement of op-eds, commentary and analysis.

MSU’s college and unit communicators also serve as resources to faculty and staff and can provide counsel and respond to inquiries from the media. Employees are strongly encouraged to contact them along with their University Communications media contacts, particularly if they are unfamiliar with the media.