Media Guidelines

Whether you reach out to media for coverage, or are contacted by a member of the media for an interview, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Designate a media representative
You should decide who in your organization, project or trip is going to best represent you, your work, and the University. This person should be very knowledgable about your program, the Pace Center, and how the work you do fits in with what’s happening in the larger context of the community - and be comfortable talking on camera, on the phone or in person.

2. Contact the Pace Center!
If you are contacted by a member of the media, let Communications Coordinator Gwen McNamara (gwenm@princeton.edu, 609.258.1679) know! She can help you decide whether or not to participate, prep for your interview, and share coverage when it comes out.

3. Ask some key questions of your own

  • How did the member of the media find out about your work?
  • What is their deadline?
  • What is the story they’re working on about?
  • Who else have they reached out to?
  • What questions are they going to ask? (Getting questions in advance to review is a great prepping tool!)

Things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t feel pressured to answer questions on the spot. Take some time to digest what the member of the media is looking for and make a recommendation to speak at a later time or date - no matter how much they say they’re on deadline.
  • Don’t answer questions you don’t know the answer to. It’s OK not to know everything! You can defer questions you are unsure about to Communications Coordinator Gwen McNamara.
  • If you get asked a potentially loaded or charged question, use the “pivot” technique to direct your response away from the problem area and focus back on a message you want to share. 

Pivot Technique Example:

Why are Princeton students trying to save children in Trenton?

Our tutoring program works one-on-one with students in Trenton after school. [pivot] We focus our work on not only helping with homework, but also as being mentors. Just was we hope to help our students learn, it’s amazing how much we have to learn from our students. [Note that the negative aspect of the question is never referenced or repeated.]