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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Story Suggestions

UC Irvine’s dynamic people, programs and research make great subjects for national and local news stories. The Office of Strategic Communications is here to make sure those stories are told. Faculty, students and staff are invited to submit ideas for news releases, media advisories, home page features and spotlights, photos, videos and more to communications@uci.edu. Here are some guidelines to ensure best results.

News releases

Strategic Communications issues news releases for groundbreaking research, extraordinary academic achievement, significant community service or generous philanthropy. Critical elements of a news release are:

  • News value: Story must feature an element that is unique, new, relevant and/or immediate. A meaningful and educational tie to national trends or issues is a plus.
  • Impact: How does the story demonstrate UCI’s impact on the lives of Californians and beyond?
  • Face time: Story subject must be open to and available for media interviews once a news release is issued.

Media advisories

Strategic Communications issues media advisories for events and speakers of interest to media and general public. Media advisories are invitations for coverage and are not meant to break news. Events that qualify should have:

  • News value: Is the speaker a well-known expert in his/her field, a celebrity or someone of interest to the public? Does the event have meaningful or educational ties to national trends or current issues?
  • UCI messages: What key UCI themes does the event or speaker put forward, i.e., learning, teaching, research, creativity?
  • Community outreach: Does the event or speaker offer an opportunity for the community to interact with or enjoy the UCI experience in a meaningful or entertaining way?

Home page features and spotlights

Several features and spotlights are present at any given time on the home page, which attracts more than 300,000 unique visitors each month. These stories must demonstrate:

  • Impact: How does the story demonstrate UCI’s impact on the lives of Californians and beyond?
  • Hook: What is the core element of the story that makes readers want to read more? Is it of broad general interest? Is there a meaningful and educational tie to current events? Is it representative of a national trend or issue?
  • UCI messages: What key UCI themes does the story put forward, i.e., learning, teaching, research, creativity?

Visual elements

High-quality visuals make news releases and feature stories more appealing to all audiences and increase opportunities for media coverage and/or placement on the home page. Some guidelines for thinking visually:

  • Photographs: A dynamic image or two (avoid headshots) or a slide show, if appropriate – attract and retain readers. Generally, the better the image, the more time the story will be viewed by readers. When suggesting a story, please include ideas for visuals.
  • Videos: Strategic Communications selectively produces videos, based on available resources. Stories accompanied by action, compelling audio and colorful visuals can warrant a video. Story subjects must appear comfortable and articulate on camera. Plan for longer lead time on a story if you are suggesting video.

Got a story to suggest? Contact communications@uci.edu.

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