An important goal of the Office of Communications and Marketing is to promote and highlight the accomplishments and impacts of faculty and staff. The following guidelines address our approach to news releases and photography to support that goal.

All requests for news releases and articles should be submitted via the project request system.

Awards | Event promotion | New initiatives in Extension | Facutly appointments 
Hot topics/news | Photography/video | Research papers and grants announcements

Awards

Communications and Marketing will write news releases and promote awards received by faculty and staff (individuals and groups alike) based on the following criteria:

Awards at these levels are given a news release on the university and college/Extension websites and placement in college/Extension publications:

  • University-level awards (ex: Alumni Excellence)
  • National awards from professional or technical organizations
  • Outside awards given by Extension at state level (Friend of Extension)

Awards at these levels are given placement in Insights* and possibly college/Extension publications and/or websites:

  • College or Extension-level awards (Programming awards, Diversity awards)
  • State, regional, or local level awards from professional or technical organizations

*Insights articles are written by the submitting individual, not by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Event promotion

Communications and Marketing will help distribute notifications of upcoming public events provided the event targets a broad geographic area — at least regional in scope — in this manner:

  • Specialist or agent drafts a news release describing the event, its target audience, and its logistical information such as time, location, registration details, etc.
  • Draft release should be submitted via the online project request system at least six to eight weeks prior to registration deadline.
  • Communications and Marketing will review and edit the release and return to faculty member for final approval.
  • After final approval, Communications and Marketing will forward the release to the VT News Bureau for distribution and publication on the Web.
  • Note: If another state agency is the lead agency for an event, we will defer to that agency to do the release.

New initiatives in Extension

Communications and Marketing will write and distribute news releases announcing new program initiatives, partnerships, or statewide efforts:

  • Extension associate directors must suggest or approve the topic. Information should be provided at least two weeks prior to the launch/promotion date of the initiative.
  • Extension associate directors must be available to be interviewed/quoted and/or other faculty members must be available for interview.
  • Extension associate directors must review and approve release before distribution.
  • After final approval, Communications and Marketing will forward the release to the VT News Bureau for distribution and publication on Web.

Faculty appointments

  • News releases will be written by Communications and Marketing for new faculty appointments, with the exception of Extension agents. Local units are responsible for writing and distributing news releases about new agents to their local media. Releases are written for interim college appointments only at the associate dean/director level.
  • After final approval, Communications and Marketing will forward the release to the VT News Bureau for distribution and publication on Web.

Hot topics/news

Communications and Marketing will write and distribute a news release for any regional or statewide emerging issue for which Extension has a response. Issues must have clear and current Extension action that can be reported to address a problem. Examples:

  • Emerald Ash Borer (agents and MGs responded)
  • FIT Extension (agents responding to health/wellness issues)
  • Farm transition (faculty responding to changes in demographics)

Newsworthiness of articles from the college will be determined by Communications and Marketing and be distributed accordingly.

  • Any faculty member can contact Communications and Marketing with a suggested topic.
    • Generally speaking, the team is looking for stories that illustrate the impact of research or academic programs. 
    • The audience for these releases is the general public, so they are written in lay language. 
    • While the faculty member gets to review and revise the release, the Office of Communications and Marketing has final say on the language used.
  • Extension associate directors must approve the topic before the Extension release is written.
  • After final approval, Communications and Marketing will forward the release to the VT News Bureau for distribution and publication on Web.

Photography/video

As a general rule, Communications and Marketing does not supply photography services. We may, however, arrange for photographs to be taken at college and Extension events and programs when those photographs have the following uses:

  • They will accompany an award, new initiative, or hot topic news release as outlined above.
  • They can be used for print or web publicity of a key Extension initiative or current story for a Extension, college, or university publication.

Any faculty member may suggest opportunities for photographs to Communications and Marketing.

Research papers and grants announcements

Our office will write news releases about research papers that have an appeal to the general public. The news releases often focus on the impact of the research and are written with a lay audience in mind. The best time to request a story on a research paper is when it is accepted to the journal to give the office adequate time to create a media plan. Large grant awards are written about on a discretionary basis and focus on the potential impact of the research.

Contact

All  news/promotion requests should be sent to:

  • Zeke Barlow
  • Assistant Director, Communications and Marketing
  • 540-231-5417
  • zekebarlow@vt.edu
  • 131 Smyth Hall
    185 Ag Quad Lane
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
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