Working with the Media

Typically the University News Office, FAS Communications Office, or SEAS Communications Office manages and/or directs all media calls. In some cases, one of those offices may direct, with your permission, a member of the media to you. In others cases, however, you may receive a direct call from a reporter. Feel free to direct the reporter to one of the communications offices or ask to call them back once you have discussed the issue further. Members of the University News Office, FAS Communications Office, or SEAS Communications Offices are also happy to provide informal media training, especially to those individuals who expect to be in the news frequently.  

Note: In most cases, the goal of media outreach is to promote research, events, and/or academic or educational activities. Members of SEAS are always permitted to speak freely to the media. Keep in mind, however, what you say can readily be taken out of context and distributed within a matter of seconds around the globe. 

Advice When Working with the Media

Please refer to the following advice (adapted from San Francisco State University) when working with the media:

  • Please let us know when you speak with the media.
  • Please let us know if you have appeared in the media.
  • If you need assistance on a particularly sensitive or controversial issue, please contact our office to discuss how you might best respond.
  • Remember that anything you say may appear in print, online, and other media and once it does appear it will be archived (in some form) for years to come.
  • Remember that you are speaking on behalf of yourself, not on behalf of SEAS or the University; refrain from making "institutional" comments. 
  • If the reporter's questions are reasonable, be cooperative, but don't feel obligated to comment on issues outside your area of expertise.
  • Don't speculate and don't guess. If you don't know something, admit it and refer the reporter to someone who is knowledgeable in that area.
  • Always remind reporters to include your affiliation to the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences when referring to you as a source.
  • Don't ask to review a story before it is printed; this is not proper news etiquette. Do, however, invite reporters to call you back if they need to check their facts or any quotes.
  • If a story contains major errors or mischaracterizes your work, views, etc., please let one of the communication offices know rather than attempt to deal with the situation directly.