At the suggestion of a colleague I have been browsing through the UC Davis Policy and Procedure Manual – Chapter 310, Communications and Technology Section 40, University Communications: Publications, Graphic Standards, Marketing, and Media Relations.
Much of it is straightforward but much of it seems to basically be discouraging any direct social media posts or interaction with the press. See for example:
The News Service unit in University Communications is the exclusive source for developing and disseminating news about UC Davis to the general public via newspapers, radio, television, magazines, and the World Wide Web, including social media and related channels. The News Service unit determines the newsworthiness of significant developments and activities in academic research; administrative programs; accomplishments of faculty, staff, or students; events; and other campus matters. It conducts or coordinates direct contact with news media representatives, and assures that media relations are timely, accurate, comprehensive, and of broad public interest.
Generally, the news media will contact the News Service to find a source for a story. If a reporter contacts a source directly, that faculty member, staff member, or student shall notify the News Service
Hmm … so .. when I was contacted by multiple reporters about the pepper spray incident and for my comments on it and on the handling of it by UC Davis I was supposed to notify the UC Davis News Service. I suppose I could have done that. But how about this – I communicate with dozens if not 100s of reporters on Twitter about all sorts of things. Should I notify the news service about each contact? That would actually be kind of fun. They would block my emails very soon thereafter I am sure.
I am also wondering about the role of the News Service as the “exclusive source for developing and disseminating news” “via newspapers, radio, television, magazines, and the World Wide Web, including social media and related channels.” So is this saying I am no longer supposed to write about UC Davis on social media? No more blogging? No more Twitter? How does this jibe with all the retweets and reposts I get by official UC Davis groups/people?
In the end I can imagine that the UC Davis administration would say this wording is not quite what they mean. But it is there. And technically, I am supposed to follow it. Oh well, off to kill all my social media accounts. Yeah, right.
UPDATE: Barry Shiller – UC Davis Communications Chief Guru has responded with clarifications that this policy is NOT intended to suppress any communications but is about coordination with the News Service
I’m replying directly and publicly as an expression of transparency, and professional respect for you.
You indeed misinterpret the policy. It was, and is, intended to optimize coordination with the media – not, as is inferred by your post, to inhibit anyone. Coordination, by the way, is as beneficial to the media as anyone. They appreciate knowing their go-to points of contact. That said, reporters contact faculty, staff and students without interference or inhibition. All the time.
It may be that this policy fails to clarify or contemporize the distinction between “reporters” and social media content creators, including bloggers. If so, we will take a look at it; I’d welcome your input.
But let me be clear: as you well know, many university constituents actively blog, tweet, post, opine. (I’m among them.) In this age, it is an important ingredient in telling our story. The policy is not intended to discourage that