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Media Engagement Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) This Policy provides direction for La Trobe University staff when engaging media. 

(2) The Policy objectives are to:

  1. define the operational framework of La Trobe University’s media engagement
  2. ensure sound decision-making and planning processes when engaging media
  3. provide clear lines of responsibility with regards to the ownership of stories and the approval of the use of media.

(3) Defines the procedures La Trobe staff are required to follow and the responsibilities they have when engaging/interacting with the media.

(4) Requests for all new and ongoing media engagement/interaction must be made through the Manager, Media & Communications or Media Liaison Officer(s) for advice and initial approval. 

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Section 2 - Scope

(5) Applies to:

  1. Colleges and all divisional units
  2. All campuses
  3. All University staff (academic & general)
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) This Policy defines the responsibilities La Trobe staff have when engaging/interacting with the media, ensuring the University’s reputation and brand are protected while receiving the best possible, accurate and positive media coverage.

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Section 4 - Procedure

Part A - Media Liaison

(7) All media engagement and liaison must be handled through the Marketing & Engagement Division. All staff wishing to contact the media must gain initial approval from the Manager, Media & Communications or from a Media Liaison Officer. 

(8) All media releases must be prepared and distributed through and in collaboration with the Manager, Media & Communications and/or Media Liaison Officer(s). 

(9) All staff contacted by the media must advise the Manager, Media & Communications or Media Liaison Officer(s) before speaking any further with the media. 

Part B - Official Spokesperson

(10) Staff are not permitted to represent themselves as spokespersons for La Trobe University unless authorised to do so.

(11) Official University statements must be authorised by the Manager, Media & Communications, Media Liaison Officer(s), Executive Director, Marketing & Engagement or the Vice-Chancellor.

Part C - Academic Comments

(12) University staff are encouraged to take pride in their professional achievements and contribute to academic discussion in their professional field. Preferably all staff should talk to the Manager, Media & Communications or the Media Liaison Officer(s) prior to engaging with the media, and / or attend one of media training courses regularly offered by the Media and Communications Unit. However there may be situations where consultation with the Unit might not be possible. In these cases, staff should let the Manager, Media and Communications know of the media engagement situation in which they were involved. Staff are required to make it clear to the media that it is their academic viewpoint being expressed and not the University’s.

Part D - Bringing University into Disrepute

(13) Staff must not engage the media in any activity or comment that may bring the University’s goodwill, reputation or public image into disrepute.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(14) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Media includes all media e.g. Television, print, radio and electronic media including the web, blogs, social media and new emerging mediums. 
  2. Brand: A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer. It is constructed over time and is influenced by the experiences of the consumer so there is a clear relationship between brand and reputation. Branding is the marketing term to describe the process of building a favourable image for a product, service or organisation that differentiates it, in the minds of the public, from competitors or other institutions.
  3. Staff includes employees, officers and contractors of La Trobe University
  4. University is La Trobe University.
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Section 6 - Stakeholders

(15) Responsibility for implementation – Specific responsibilities are delegated as follows.

  1. The Executive Director of Marketing and Engagement is responsible for:
    1. Ensuring consistency in media messages
    2. Ongoing evaluation and review of media engagement as well as guidance and assistance to Manager, Media and Communications.
  2. The Manager Media and Communications has overall operational responsibility for guidance, approval, implementation and management of media engagement/interaction.

(16) Responsibility for monitoring implementation and compliance – The Media and Communications Unit and the Office of Executive Director will be responsible for reviewing this Policy and related guidelines and procedures, monitoring implementation and compliance.