Why do we have a media policy?

• To guide UMD’s media relations outreach and practices
• To establish the most efficient and effective process for providing timely, accurate information to members of the news media
• To reaffirm the privacy rights of our students, faculty, staff and guests
• To provide campus guidance in case of an emergency, crisis or reputational threat
Experts/media sources

UMD faculty and staff are cutting-edge experts in their fields, and we encourage broadly sharing research findings with media. As a leading public research institution, we support the myriad voices and expert opinions of our faculty and fully respect freedom of speech and academic commentary. Our community values and promotes academic expression. However, expressing comments and opinions via media and social media is often considered a reflection on the university, implying endorsement and/or representation of the university at large. When commenting on an issue that is potentially controversial, we ask all members of faculty and staff to alert the University Communications office.

When serving as an industry expert, faculty members and staff are asked to speak, write, blog and post on social media within their areas of related expertise. Faculty and staff should refrain from speaking on issues outside of their expertise or during a crisis event. Designated spokespeople during a crisis will be determined by University Communications.
Public Information Officers (PIOs)

PIOs will provide official statements or comments during a crisis and serve as official spokespeople on behalf of the university. Katie Lawson serves as the PIO and Chief Communications Officer for the University of Maryland, and Sgt. Roseanne Hoaas serves as the PIO for the University of Maryland Police Department.

A campus crisis is an incident or threat of campus safety, tragedy, crime or natural disaster. A crisis may also involve an incident that threatens the university’s reputation. Institutional response and communications strategy will be led by the University Communications office. This office serves as the most accurate source to funnel timely information from University Police, the President’s Office and the Incident Response Team. This centralized approach and policy is in place to prevent misinformation, rumor-spreading and inconsistent messaging.

During a crisis event, University Communications will provide Issue Briefs to campus communicators with guidance that includes talking points, key messages, suggested social media content, etc.
Higher Education Beat Reporters

Pitching the print higher education beat reporters at the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun should be coordinated through the University Communications office. With more than 70 communicators on campus, it is conceivable that our beat reporters could be subjected to dozens of pitches from the University of Maryland each week. Coordinating via this office will optimize UMD story placement and ensure strong working relationships with these newspapers.
The University Communications Beat System

All University Communications staff are assigned to several “beat” areas around campus, which can include Colleges, Schools and/or Units (e.g. Student Affairs). Incoming communicators on campus should inquire about who their assigned point of contact is within University Communications.

Successfully managing a beat requires University Communications staff to proactively seek opportunities to collaborate, as well as reliably respond to requests. Through strong relationships, University Communications works with campus communicators to strategically distribute information campus-wide, execute brand and message consistency, and coordinate breaking news.
UMD Right Now

The university news site is managed through University Communications, and communicators across campus are encouraged to send press releases and news announcements to aggregate the many stories coming out of the university each day.

UMD Right Now seeks the following to include in daily posts:
• Faculty research findings
• Recent book launches, publications by faculty or students
• Major grant announcements (generally $1M+) and strategic partnerships
• Press releases that tell the story of college events (not media advisories that give who/what/when/where details)
• Personnel announcements for Deans and cabinet officials
• Major student accomplishments, innovations, competition results and scholarships
• Campus-wide events, such as Maryland Day and commencement
• Breaking news
UMD Right Now typically does not post:
• Obituaries
• Alumni stories that have no direct connection to current faculty or students
• Faculty hires and promotions
• Most media advisories for college, departmental or student events (some exceptions may apply)
To submit an item to UMD Right Now for consideration, please email Alana Carchedi at All stories published on UMD Right Now also publish to ‘In The News’ section on the UMD homepage.

Communicators on campus have the option to cost-share for services provided by our current media vendor, Vocus. This service allows communicators to access a database of more than 1.4 million media contacts, compile media lists, monitor media coverage, distribute news via email and PRWeb, and create analytic reports.
Brand Toolkit

For guidance on branding policies for the university, including style guide, please refer to the UMD Brand Toolkit.
Rules of Engagement with Media

Some tips from University Communications:
• Handling calls from reporters:
• Ask for deadline and respect the time constraints and deadlines
• Ask for contact information, nature of request (story angle), and when possible, follow-up questions via email
• Generally, scheduled interviews glean better results. Avoid on-the-spot interviews
• In case of crisis or issue, alert Katie Lawson (CCO) or the University Communications office for management. The main office number is 301-405-4621.
• Don’t speak “off the record” – there is no such thing. Assume everything you say to a reporter is on the record.
• Don’t agree to spontaneous interviews – take time to prepare, ask for questions in advance
• Don’t let reporter’s mistakes and/or assumptions go unchallenged
• Don’t answer questions you don’t know the answer to – it’s ok to say you don’t know
• Ask what angle reporters are taking and who else is included in the story before answering questions and agreeing to an interview
Student Photography Permissions

If students are in a public place on campus – such as McKeldin Mall – there is no legal expectation of privacy and there is no need to secure permission by student subjects for photography or filming. However, students who are photographed for marketing or university-affiliated websites, collateral or other material will be asked to sign a waiver, granting permission for usage. A template waiver can be found here. Communicators across campus should secure the same permissions when photographing students for marketing-related initiatives. A copy of the waiver should be provided to Gail Rupert at

In an effort to protect students that have opted out of disclosing FERPA information, including photography and film, University Communications suggests providing appropriate disclosure and notice when filming/photography is occurring and reasonable alternative accommodations. For example, during a university-wide awards ceremony which is being filmed, a sign should be posted alerting attendees that filming is taking place and when possible, offering a “no film/photography” section for those that do not want to be included in any footage. In this scenario, waivers are not required because it is a large public event.
Filming on Campus

If communicators notice filming happening on campus (media or otherwise), notify University Communications. Any and all media that come to campus are asked to notify University Communications in advance, but this does not always happen.

We appreciate the notice so that we can track violations of our policy and potentially provide a police escort should that be necessary.
Commercial Filming

Except for news media and university marketing, filming at UMD requires a signed film agreement and is subject to a daily fee and insurance documentation.

The filming guidelines state:
All requests by media and students to film on campus must be accompanied by a completed filming application. Please submit your application to University Communications at a minimum of 10 business days prior to your film date request.

All requests to film at a UMD athletics facility must be coordinated through University Athletics. Please contact Josh Kaplan at 301.314.9729.

A Filming Fee of $1,000 per day is required in advance for all non-news/commercial filming.

A Certificate of Insurance for $1,000,000 (with a 30-day cancellation notice which names the University of Maryland as an additional insured) is required in advance for all filming.

Other service fees may apply:
• Security Aide Escorts (required for all filming not involving UMD faculty or staff)
• Room rental
• Parking permits
All requests will receive a timely response via e-mail. Please note that business hours are Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; weekend and holiday requests will not be addressed until the next business day. University Communications reserves the right to decline any request.

Find additional information on commercial film contracts and student film projects here.

Communicators have access to the following university publications to pitch news stories about faculty, students, staff and alumni:
• Terp Magazine and Terp Online
• Between the Columns
• The Shell Alumni Newsletter
Contact Lauren Brown at for more information. It is a good idea to copy the contact on the University Communications team who is assigned to your beat area. This person can be an advocate for you and wants to stay informed on the good news coming out of your unit.
Social Media Policy

The university is currently working on drafting a social media policy. In the meantime, please refer to the social media section in the Brand Toolkit, and consider including language on social channels that provide some cover: RTs, likes and shares do not mean endorsement.

For social media guidelines, review what has been provided by UMD’s Clark School of Engineering.