Internal and external communications
The News and Media Relations unit provides a range of internal and external communication services for the WSU system to promote the university’s brand and fulfill our land-grant mission to provide public information and disseminate knowledge.
Proactive media relations
The unit works with colleges, other marketing and communication units, administrative departments and researchers to draft and pitch timely information to media outlets that highlights WSU’s regional, national and global impact. A variety of communication tools and platforms are available.
University-related information of interest to faculty, staff, students and the WSU community at large, can be submitted for consideration to the WSU News editorial staff at email@example.com. Article ideas, photo ideas and comments also can be e-mailed to David Wasson, director, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Will Ferguson, news editor, email@example.com, but please make sure to also send to primary WSU News email account.
Traditional press releases
The News unit produces, edits and distributes newsworthy releases to targeted media outlets on subject matter that appeals to a broad external audience. The unit follows best practices for press releases, which should be brief, ideally 600 words or less and written in AP Style with most of the pertinent information at the top of the release. The unit provides, manages and oversees the use of press release distribution tools for the university system, including the official WSU EurekAlert account and the Meltwater media distribution lists and tracking software.
The following will be considered for distribution as a formal press release to news media:
- Research results that advance knowledge, demonstrate world-class quality and innovation, and appeal to a general audience, showing impact and highlighting novel or surprising results. Timeliness is key. Ideally, press release distribution should coincide with publication date in a peer-reviewed science journal, though consideration will be given to research that is within three months of journal publication.
- For science-related press releases in particular, please share working drafts with WSU News before seeking final approval from the researcher. This enables us to evaluate accessibility for general audiences and address any issues related to requirements of our distribution platforms such as EurekAlert and Futurity in advance and be mindful of faculty time and schedules.
- Application of knowledge that addresses social and global problems.
- Major grants, awards and partnerships (grants over $1 million and awards that support WSU’s Strategic Plan and other university initiatives).
- Verifiable distinctions and innovations that elevate prestige (first, best, only).
- Economic development activity that shows WSU is an essential driver of competitiveness, quality of life and prosperity in Washington state and beyond.
- Top-tier rankings – news value is determined by year-over-year performance.
- High-profile and high-priority policy developments, university statements and newsworthy governing decisions.
- A small number of carefully selected events based on news value and alignment to WSU’s Strategic Plan.
Submitting a press release or media advisory
The central News and Media Relations team is responsible for preparing and distributing press releases that promote university accomplishments, support the WSU brand and elevate the university’s profile. Press releases should be of interest to general audiences outside the WSU community.
- Central news team serves as the editor for all press releases submitted for media distribution.
- Central news team distributes press releases to media outlets; working with unit communicators to determine distribution.
- Writers should indicate clearly that an item is intended for external distribution to media outlets and describe why it would be of interest to a general audience. The central news team will provide guidance on whether information is better suited as an external press release or a WSU Insider story.
- All email correspondence for press releases should go through the firstname.lastname@example.org email account.
- The WSU news team should receive copy at least 3-5 business days prior to publication or desired distribution date to allow for editing and scheduling.
News and information of interest to faculty, staff and the WSU community. Updated each weekday. Online hub with a daily push email. Story lengths should be in the 400- to 600-word range or shorter, and should be written in AP news style. In addition to topics also suitable for press releases, here are some examples of common themes and topics suitable for Insider:
- Operational initiatives, developments and announcements with broad impact
- Legislative, congressional agendas; Strategic Plan updates; organized fundraising campaigns
- Efforts that impact the organization and culture of WSU
- Campus operations affecting access or usage (parking, snow removal, emergency conditions, major event advisories, etc.)
- Major HRS efforts such as Open Enrollment; process changes, updates, etc. affecting large groups of employees; required or highly recommended faculty and staff training from throughout the system
- ITS process updates, advisories and changes affecting wide scale usage
- Organizational changes demonstrating growth or mission advancement
- Development of new schools, centers, programs, including general department, unit realignments.
- Executive and senior-level promotions, hiring or changes to responsibilities that would be of importance to the WSU community
- Internal programs designed to facilitate educational innovation, research or IP commercialization efforts, faculty and staff skill expansion opportunities
- Awards, achievements and accomplishments
- Sharing timely accomplishments among student, faculty and staff, including major scholarships, regional and national recognition, community development
- Events with major engagement potential
- Commencement, convocation, Week of Welcome, Safety, Health, and Security Fair, Showcase, etc.
- Notable lectures, gatherings in support of WSU initiatives
- Story-telling that reinforces WSU priorities
- Interesting accomplishments or experiences involving WSU students, faculty and staff that serve to highlight system priorities and university standing within the communities it serves
- Profiles of unique projects, exhibits or other activities that serve to shape the WSU experience.
Submitting an Insider story
Central news team is responsible for writing Insider stories that promote university accomplishments, support the WSU brand, and elevate the university’s profile. The Insider includes internal and external communications. The team also works with other communicators from across the WSU system to include a broad range of content of interest to the WSU community.
Central news team serves as the editor for all Insider stories.
The central news team owns the editorial calendar.
Central news team determines the layout of the daily publication as well as the contents and order of the daily push email.
When submitting an article, indicate clearly that it is intended for the WSU Insider and not for distribution as a press release. Text for the Insider should be written in a journalistic style but not formatted as a press release.
All email correspondence for Insider stories should go through the WSU news email account but feel free to cc members of the news team when submitting content and content ideas.
The WSU news team should receive copy at least 3-5 business days prior to publication. If there is time-sensitive content, the submitter can work with central news team to determine publication date.
These are highly transactional types of notices of general university interest. They are self-uploaded by the units that authored the notices and submitting units are expected to copy edit and ensure factual accuracy. Examples include:
- Targeted training and event opportunities
- Campus- and audience-specific sales, fundraisers, events
- Shared leave notices
- Retirement notices, including invitations to farewell gatherings
- Memorial notices for current and former employees with link to published obituaries
- Note: The central news team can elevate announcements of broad general interest to the Insider homepage as well (particularly when they have systemwide appeal or support the university’s key strategic initiatives).
Submitting an announcement
Factual accuracy of information contained in submissions is the responsibility of those who submit the information. University Marketing and Communications reviews only for compliance with state laws and ethics rules pertaining to the use of WSU’s communication resources. Submissions typically receive no editing for grammar, spelling or style, though the News and Media Relations unit may periodically provide basic copy editing on submissions being considered for use by WSU Insider.
- Guidelines for what makes a relevant announcement are posted to the Announcement submission web page.
- The central news team can elevate announcements to the Insider homepage as well, particularly when they have systemwide appeal or support the university’s key priorities and strategic initiatives.
WSU Events calendar
Self-uploaded events open to general participation throughout the WSU system. The calendar has an auto-syndication feature that displays events on both the WSU Insider and WSU system websites. Only those with a wsu.edu email address can upload.
- Submitting events at least 10 days in advance is highly recommended to allow for review and posting, which sometimes can take a couple of days when accounting for leave time and busy periods.
- Note: The central news team can elevate announcements to the Insider homepage as well (particularly when they have systemwide appeal or support the university’s key strategic initiatives).
Submitting an event
Events must be submitted through the required online form. The submitter is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all information.