Policy VII.7001.A, Public Relations
The San Jacinto College Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department strives to continuously enhance the College’s public profile and to keep stakeholders informed and engaged via multi-platform communication channels and initiatives. The department’s efforts play a vital role in driving enrollment, creating opportunities for engagement with the College community, and ensuring the integrity of the College brand. The department provides strategic counsel, creative solutions, and timely, responsive service to internal and external constituents.
All media relations requests and actions flow through the Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department for three reasons:
- To ensure consistency in messaging from all areas of the College with news media.
- To maintain a high level of credibility with the media.
- To protect the reputation of the College, its students and its employees.
The Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department will always be an honest provider of information to the public. One of the College’s seven values is Integrity – We Act Honorably and Ethically – which is vital to maintaining successful public relations efforts for the College. Failure to provide accurate information to the public in general, and specifically to the news media, could damage the credibility of the College and diminish the effectiveness of its relationships with news media.
I. Public Relations Staff Responsibility
The public relations staff has primary responsibility for coverage of news and information throughout the College. The Director, Public Relations; and Communications Coordinators work closely with each campus and College departments to produce news items concerning activities, events, students, programs, and employees. The public relations staff is also responsible for sports information to promote the College’s athletics programs.
II. Event Coverage
- News releases/briefs and media advisories for events are prepared in advance when events are open to the public, or at least open to news coverage. The only exception to this would be when the event, in the judgment of the Vice Chancellor, Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs or Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations, is of such overriding importance to the public that an advance release in itself would be news.
- San Jacinto College employees and staff are encouraged to provide the public relations staff with three to four weeks advance notice of events. This allows the public relations staff ample time to research, interview, and disseminate the event information to the news media to garner interest and coverage.
III. Contact with the Media and Preparing for Interviews
Opportunities exist outside of crisis situations (see section IV for crisis communications) for members of the College community, including students, faculty, and staff, to be interviewed and tell the story of San Jacinto College. Employees must refer all media requests to the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations; or to the Director, Public Relations, and public relations staff will prepare employees and/or students for interactions with reporters.
Reporters are professionals attempting to communicate information to their respective audiences in the most interesting and accurate way. Reporters represent the public's right to know and they attempt to be as objective as they can. However, the constant pressure to meet deadlines makes their job extremely difficult. Deadlines force reporters to prepare a story by a certain time or date, whether or not they can present both sides. They look to experts to describe the bottom line of what the issue is and why it is relevant.
Things to know
If a reporter contacts an employee directly, the employee should direct the reporter to the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations; or to the Director, Public Relations. The public relations staff will then make arrangements for the appropriate staff or students to interview at a mutually agreeable time, including any necessary time on campus.
Employees should avoid talking "off the record." Even though employees or students can ask that what is said not be used, and even if a reporter agrees, that information may still turn up in print or on-air.
Employees should be wary of video cameras or photographers on campus that are not accompanied by a member of the College public relations staff. Employees should contact the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations; or the Director, Public Relations, if media is seen on campus unaccompanied.
San Jacinto College public relations staff members will disseminate College news to the media, but under no circumstance does the media have an obligation to print or air any news, photo releases, or briefs.
IV. Crisis Communications
The College has established two basic guidelines for communicating with the media, which should be observed by employees and students, especially in crisis situations:
- The Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations; and the Director, Public Relations, are the authorized spokespersons (Public Information Officer or PIO) to disseminate information to the media, unless the Chancellor appoints an alternate designee, or the PIO requests an employee to speak to the media. In crisis situations, employees are not to engage with the media on behalf of San Jacinto College.
- The PIO is the point of contact between media and College resources, provide(s) referrals to proper sources of information within the College community, and will provide a consistent message to the media and the public during crisis situations.
- The most accurate information is the only information that will be distributed. No College employee is to offer any speculation.
Procedures to Follow
- Employees are not to speak with the media unless requested to do so by the PIO.
- All contacts from the media must be referred directly to the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations, at 281-998-6160; or the Director, Public Relations at 281-998-6139.
- The incident management team will keep the PIO on duty apprised of the status of all emergencies.
- Under no circumstances shall anyone other than the designated spokesperson(s) release the names of victims or details about the emergency situation. The spokesperson(s) shall not release any information about the victims without direct authorization from the incident management team to ensure family members have been appropriately contacted.
- Family members affected by a crisis situation on campus are discouraged from agreeing to provide media with an interview. However, if they choose to grant an interview, it is recommended that the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations; the Director, Public Relations; or a member of the incident management team be present during interviews with family members to ensure that media follow ground rules and do not ask inappropriate questions.
The Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations; or the Director, Public Relations will disseminate communication approved by the incident management team to the campus community through the College’s Mass Notification System, SJC AlertMe. Communication methods include:
- Desktop takeover notifications;
- San Jacinto College email;
- Voice message (employees and students must opt-in);
- Text message (employees and students must opt-in);
- San Jacinto College website;
- San Jacinto College emergency notification line;
- Official San Jacinto College social media accounts;
- Mobile app; and
- News releases/briefs to the media.
The College website and SJC AlertMe are the official forms of communication. Students and employees should not rely solely on media for information during a crisis situation.
V. Filming and Photography on Campus
Filming and photography will be permitted at San Jacinto College locations, campuses, grounds, facilities, or properties (whether owned or leased) in accordance with this information and provided that such activity does not interfere with the educational or normal business operations and program functions or previously scheduled events of the College and does not pose a security or safety risk. Further, the use or re-use of the filming or photography output must not be deemed inconsistent with College values or in violation of the policies of the College. All activities requiring College resources, such as police, grounds restoration, traffic control, parking, and any other College services rendered shall be charged to the user. Procedures related to Use of Recording Devices by Employees and Students are reported in Policy III.3006.A.
a. External Use Filming or Photography
For purposes of this information, external use shall include filming or photography on campus for commercial or non-commercial purposes and for which San Jacinto College will not own the copyright to the work created. No campus images may be used without prior written authorization from the Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department. This includes drone footage, video footage, still photography, other device or otherwise produced images used to create images of the College campus, facilities, or brand marks.
b. News Reporting
For purposes of this information, news reporting is live or recorded filming or photography and transmission (with or without audio recording) as “active” or “breaking” news or pre-recorded for a later newscast, by a qualified news reporting service. All requests for news reporting should be referred to the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations; or Director, Public Relations. News organizations must receive verbal permission from the Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department before news reporting can commence.
In most cases, a public relations staff member will accompany television news film crews or other members of the media. Any disputes involving news reporting should be referred to the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations, for resolution.
c. Incidental, Non-commercial Filming or Photography
No unobtrusive, non-commercial filming or photography by visitors or tourists to the campus will be allowed. Any such filming or photography may not be used for commercial purposes at any time without the express, written permission of the Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department.
e. Non-News and Commercial Filming or Photography
San Jacinto College does not allow the use of its campuses and facilities for the purpose of non-news and commercial filming or photography. However, the Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department may consider specific requests. Express, written permission is required at least 30 days in advance of the projected filming or photo shoot date. Requests must include the following information:
- Name and description of the individual, company, or organization making the request;
- Project description, which may include scripts and/or storyboards, and the manner in which San Jacinto College will be represented;
- Purpose of use of photography/videography;
- The specific sites on campus, including buildings and/or facilities, to be included in the filming or photography;
- Proposed date(s) and time(s) for the filming or photography shoot, including set-up and breakdown;
- A list of all equipment that will be used;
- A copy of all releases, agreements or other legal documents proposed by the production individual, company or organization; and
- Proof of liability insurance.
If a specific facility is required for the filming or photography shoot, the requestor must obtain a Lease Agreement Contract with the respective campus services department. The College may require a fee.
e. San Jacinto College Identification and Appropriate Use of Campus Images
The College will not permit the identification of San Jacinto College as the location of external use filming or photography, except that which has been approved in writing, in advance by the Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs department.
No trademarked icons, images, logos, or widely recognizable landmarks or highly sensitive locations of the College shall be filmed, photographed, or otherwise reproduced for any commercial purposes now or in the future.
San Jacinto College staff and faculty should become familiar with the provisions of this procedure and avail themselves of appropriate departmental and campus resources in all instances of filming and photography on campus. The Marketing, Public Relations, and Government Affairs department is ultimately responsible for reviewing all requests for filming and photography on College campuses for external requestors.
VI. Social Media Guidelines
San Jacinto College has established guidelines for students and employees to consider when establishing a social media online presence. The social media guidelines for employees and students are available on the College website.
Campus Image: A still or moving image of San Jacinto College property that can be readily identified by the public as College property by architecture, landmarks, signage, the presence of prominent individuals, the inclusion of logo clothing or athletic uniforms or any other means.
College Name, Brand or, Graphic Marks: Any use of the College name or any form of the College name including the campuses or district office. Graphic marks include the College logo, tagline, advertising campaign, seal, campus mascots, or any graphic image created by the College for marketing use.
Filming: The capturing of moving or still images of San Jacinto College property by any means on any media now known or that may be invented in the future including, but not limited to, film, videotape, digital disk, or any electronic transmission to another medium or to the Internet.
Photography: The capturing of still images onto any compatible medium, or posting to the Internet, by any means or devices now known or that may be invented in the future including, but not limited to, film cameras, digital cameras, electronic devices such as personal computers (PC), mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA), etc.
Public Information Officer: The Public Information Officer, or PIO, is the designated spokesperson during a crisis situation at San Jacinto College. The PIO is a member of the incident management team.
Date of SLT Approval
October 1, 2019
November 16, 2019
Policy VII.7001.A, Public Relations
Primary Owner of Policy Associated with the Procedure
Vice Chancellor, Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs
Secondary Owner of Policy Associated with the Procedure
Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations