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Public Relations

The public relations division of Strategic Communication and Engagement provides accurate and current information about Azusa Pacific University to print, broadcast, and online media representatives. By building relationships and distributing materials (including news releases, media alerts, and pitch letters) the public relations team communicates the university’s mission and purpose through the promotion of programs, scholarships, experts, and events.

Public Relations Terms

Distribution Materials — Any mention of distribution materials includes news releases, media alerts, and pitch letters that are sent to media contacts to garner coverage.

Media Alerts — This proactive tool consists of a brief one-page alert that offers the media a simple overview of the who, what, where, when, why, and other facts of an upcoming event.

News Releases — These one-to-two page tools are the primary method of keeping reporters informed about APU’s major upcoming events, scholarly achievements, national honors, additions of new programs and staff, and donations and grants.

Pitch Letters — This proactive letter uses persuasion to generate media interest. Typically hooking the reader in the opening paragraph, the rest of the letter provides a supporting argument to confirm interest.

Keep Us Informed

If a situation or event arises that may attract media representatives to the campus, or if a reporter is already on campus to cover a situation or event, please immediately inform Rachel White, executive director of strategic communication, at (626) 815-4502 so that we may work to assist the media in the most appropriate fashion.

To Report an Event, Program, Story of Scholarship

As we continue to develop a stronger presence with the media, we encourage faculty and administrators to become more involved and take a proactive role in notifying our office of events, new programs, special guest speakers, scholarly activities, and areas of expertise. Events should be reported at least four to six weeks in advance, or as soon as you are aware of the event/situation.

To notify the public relations team of possible news items, contact Rachel White at (626) 815-4502 or [email protected].

University Experts

What does it mean to serve as an expert? Faculty, staff, and administrators can serve as experts to media contacts in their individual areas of expertise. Reporters continuously contact the media relations team looking for experts to discuss subjects related to current trends.

If you are comfortable working with the media and wish to be part of our expert directory, please contact contact Rachel White at (626) 815-4502 or [email protected].

Working with the Media

As APU faculty and staff, you have the potential to serve as a great source of information to the media. Keep in mind that sharing information with reporters influences the credibility and integrity of both you and the university. Additionally, keeping the community and alumni aware of faculty and staff research findings generates even more support for students and the campus. Perhaps most importantly, by speaking to the press you have the opportunity to communicate your message or findings to thousands, perhaps millions of people.

Still, the idea of speaking to a reporter can be intimidating. To help prepare you to speak to reporters, the public relations team has compiled a list of tips for working with the media. If you have further questions, have been contacted by a reporter, or anticipate talking to the media, please contact Rachel White at (626) 815-4502.

If a media representative contacts you, please adhere to the following:

  • Ask the representative/reporter if they have already spoken to public relations contact Rachel White ([email protected]). If we have directed them to you, we will usually let you know first.
  • If they have not yet spoken to the public relations team, but you know you are the appropriate expert in the field, speak with them as you feel comfortable. Afterward, please contact the public relations team and let us know who you spoke to, provide an overview of the conversation, and indicate if follow-up is needed.
  • If the topic is not within your area of expertise, redirect the reporter to the public relations team. Email or phone us with the reporter’s name, number, topic, and deadline.

Tips for working with the media:

  • Remember, talking with the media is an opportunity, not a challenge.
  • Determine two to three messages you wish to convey in the interview. Write them down and insert them into your responses.
  • Know who you are interacting with by obtaining the reporter’s name and publication. Find out exactly how you can help and when the deadline falls.
  • Timely responses are critical because reporters are under constant deadlines. Reporters need a response in minutes, not hours or days.
  • Caught off guard by a call from a reporter? Tell him/her you will return the call within the hour. Use this time to collect your thoughts and prepare yourself to answer questions. Then call the reporter back.
  • Cooperation with the media is very important. A no comment response may suggest that you are trying to hide something or evade the question, so try to explain why you cannot make a comment, i.e., that speculation or conjecture is not appropriate.
  • Face-to-face interviews are preferable when material needs an in-depth explanation. This is difficult because of distance and deadlines, but is preferable if possible for clarity.
  • Reporters expect honesty, fairness, a professional attitude, background information, an institutional response, and concise, clear-cut, factual information.
  • Come prepared with an objective and two or three secondary themes you want to share, no matter what type of question a reporter may ask.
  • Anticipate tough questions. If the questions make you uneasy or you would just rather not respond, address them briefly and continue with what you want to say.
  • Reporters will not show you a story before publication; it conflicts with journalistic ethics and professionalism. However, you may have them read you only your quotes once the story has been written.
  • If you are misquoted, contact the reporter, not the editor.

What to do when a reporter shows up in your office:

  • Introduce yourself to everyone in the group.
  • Become familiar with the subject and discover the reporter’s agenda. Find out who else they talked to, what did they have to say, etc.
  • Locate the cameraperson and tell them where to set up to shoot. This is your interview, so you determine the location.
  • While the crew is setting up, contact Rachel White at (626) 815-4502 or [email protected], and prepare your response. Have two positive themes ready relating to the subject to communicate your message to the audience. Use those themes in responding to each question.

Tips for speaking on camera:

  • When you are on camera, you are APU. Your job is to walk away having well represented APU.
  • Remember, you are only talking partly to the reporter. Talk through the reporter to the community.
  • Determine two to three messages you wish to convey. Do so in the context of the interview. Reiterate as possible.
  • Use short, simple sentences. Avoid jargon that may not be understood by someone who is not in the field.
  • Body language is important. Listen with your face. Do not affirm negatives with nodding.
  • Humanize APU. Show that you care and speak from the heart.
  • Do not answer the same question twice and do not let the interviewer change the subject. Respond with, “I believe I’ve already answered that. Do you have any other questions?” or “I believe you are here to discuss (subject). Do you have any other questions about (subject)?”
  • For additional tips, contact Rachel White at (626) 815-4502 or [email protected].

Media interview DOs and DON’Ts:


  • Take the lead in the interview.
  • Concisely state your point or institution’s position.
  • Explain a subject and emphasize the facts (clarify facts when appropriate).
  • Correct mistakes or misunderstandings.
  • Try to be as open, honest, and friendly as possible.


  • Guess.
  • Hypothesize.
  • Ever say something off the record or disclose confidential items.
  • Dwell on an individual’s inadequate behavior.
  • Act passively.
  • Be rude or aggressive, even if the reporter is.

Learn more about APU’s media relations.