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    Media Expert Protocol

    Media Expert/Comment Protocol

    The following protocol for selection and use of media experts governs how the University responds to and manages inquiries from media representatives.

    1. We have a media experts list that Gary has put together and vetted at This is where we list our official and MarCom approved experts and their areas of expertise. 
    2. Experts must be vetted by the dean and MarCom Department before they are officially recognized as media experts. 
    3. Experts must maintain consistency in how they present themselves as professionals and as Detroit Mercy representatives--this requires them to be balanced and objective when being interviewed by media, and being truthful with regard to responding to questions. 
    4. Individuals who provide inflammatory commentary that could potentially expose the university to legal risk and/or risk with alumni, friends, and donors without discussing their possible role with media outlet with the dean and MarCom first could be subject to disciplinary action
    5. Individuals contacted by media for interviews should notify MarCom. In many cases, notifying MarCom first in order to receive media training and input is the best route. However, because we have strong relationships with many media experts at Detroit Mercy and have carefully vetted/worked with these individuals on media interviews, they are free to respond to media inquiries on their own and notify MarCom following the interview. 
    6. Media experts are selected according to area of expertise, if they are full-time faculty or staff members, have successfully worked with the media and are comfortable doing so. 
    7. MarCom typically does not put forth adjunct/part-time professors as media experts unless we are unsuccessful in locating a subject matter expert and only in very rare cases. 

    You've been contacted? Tips for Working with the Media

    This information is also available as a downloadable pdf.

    Plan for the interview. Do not take an interview without having an opportunity to think ahead of time. Learn about the reporter and get a sense of what they generally write about.  Contact Gary Lichtman, vice president of Public Relations, 313-993-1254, to get background on their approach to covering stories. 

    • Find out what the topic of the interview will be upfront, so you can prepare for it. 
    • *If you do receive a request for an immediate interview, ask if you may call the reporter back in 15 minutes to make sure you are best prepared. 

    Decide if this interview is in your and Detroit Mercy’s best interest. As flattering as it might be to be asked to give an interview, you are under no obligation to do it. If it’s not about a topic you will feel comfortable speaking about, don’t do it. Refer them back Gary Lichtman. 

    Keep it simple. Stick to the main point.  It is helpful to speak in short sentences and soundbites.  Sentences with one point is best. Avoid jargon.  Remember your rhetoric and be aware of your audience. In other words, your audience is not in your profession.  Don’t speak over their heads.

    Don’t let reporters put words in your mouth. Journalists will often rephrase what you’ve said with a “So what’s your saying is….” If what they say is not something that you entirely agree with it can be effective to say, “What I mean is….” Taking this approach makes it very clear what your message is. You need to make sure that your ideas are expressed in the way that you want them to be.

    Practice the pause. Reporters are very good at waiting after you’ve finished talking. When you’ve said what you’ve wanted, stop. Wait. The reporter will eventually speak again.

    Put yourself in their shoes. Reporters are often on tight deadlines and if they feel like their conversation with you wasn’t valuable, they won’t call again. Find out what other topics they cover and offer to be a resource and they’ll think of you and Detroit Mercy in the future. If you say you will call them back or email the with additional information, do so. 

    Don’t say anything you don't want to read in tomorrow's paper. Avoid saying anything that could negatively affect you and Detroit Mercy.  Don’t speak negatively about the University and do not comment on rumors or things you may have heard.  It will probably show up in the story.  Similarly, avoid commenting on events that have yet to occur, like a deal or a partnership that is imminent but isn’t signed. If you don’t want it out there, don’t say it.

    Ways to reference the university or school:

    • Detroit Mercy
    • University of Detroit Mercy
    • DO NOT use UDM or U of D

Do you have a story idea for us?

Is your story idea newsworthy?

What do we write about and why?

Look on our website news sections and our alumni blog and you’ll see that we write about people, events and topics that have strong ties to University of Detroit Mercy, Mercy College of Detroit or University of Detroit. We also write stories about our sponsoring organizations the Society of Jesus and the Religious Sisters of Mercy, community service and more. It may be undeniably be interesting, but without that strong tie to our University, it is someone else’s story to tell. Ask yourself: Is this a uniquely Detroit Mercy story? If it is, let us know.

Define strong tie

Is the story about a current student or an alumnus? Strong tie. Is the story about something that will impact the neighborhoods around the University’s campuses? Strong tie. Is it about a current staff or faculty member? Strong tie. Is it about a staff or faculty member who no longer works here or an adjunct who may only teach one class every few semesters? It depends. Question: Will a significant portion of the University community find this interesting? If you think so, let us know. 

Think of the human factor

The best stories are what many people call human interest stories because they hold a universal appeal, also known as “human interest.” These stories can be humorous or tug at the heart strings. They can be short or long and can be a little quirky. Ask yourself: Have you found yourself telling this story yourself around the office or over the dinner table? Do people respond well? If so, let us know.

What if it’s not really a news story?

We have many outlets through which we tell Detroit Mercy's stories. In addition to working with television and newspapers, we use social media, blogs and email, and each outlet has its own voice and standards.  Ask yourself: Would someone else think this is interesting? If yes, let us know and let us decide.

We don’t play favorites

One last item: If you don’t see stories about your School or College and do see a lot of stories about another School or College at Detroit Mercy, it’s not because we like them better. It’s that they let us know what’s going on better. There are only a few of us in Marketing & Communications who write these stories and the University is a busy place with three campuses. Even if you don’t think it’s your job to let us know, let us know. We can’t write about what we don’t know.