Media Relations

Media outreach and public relations efforts play a key role in telling the story of our school and enhancing our reputation among prospective students, donors, peer institutions, and our disciplines at large. Sharing news with the public–whether via social media, a media placement, opinion piece, or web story–is a great way to demonstrate the impact of our work, and positions both you and the school as thought leaders and experts. 

School of Architecture Communications is happy to initiate media outreach on behalf of our community or to support any outreach you personally conduct. Please reach out to Kelsey Stine if you have something you would like to share.


The Role of Faculty

Why participate?

  • Enhance your institutional reputation, as well as that of your program
  • Disseminate new knowledge or research
  • Influence the debate or the conversation
  • Gain visibility among peers and other institutions
  • Help attract the best and brightest students to the school
  • Career development

You know your research and area of expertise better than anyone, so we rely on you to tell us what you're up to and what you're open to commenting on. Generally, journalists focus on the following factors to determine whether a story is newsworthy

Conflict/Controversy - Are there opposing viewpoints?

Human Interest - Does the story share something about the human experience? Does it put a human face on a concept, idea, or current event?

Impact - How does the story affect reachers/listeners/viewers?

Prominence - Does the story include a well-known person, organization, or place?

Proximity - Is the story local? Can people relate to it?

Timeliness - Is the story relevant today?

Unusual - Does the story relay an extraordinary experience? Is it the first, last, or biggest?

How to get involved

  • In your field, what is being covered in the news?
  • What should people be concerned about?
  • What is your opinion of it?
  • What's possible because of it?
  • What topics will be covered in the news in the next few weeks, next few months?
  • What are you working on? If you have a journal article that is about to be published, try to let us know at least three weeks in advance.
  • What can you comment on?

Back to Top

Types of Media Relations

There are many different ways to disseminate news other than the standard press release. We are happy to work with you to determine the best strategy and approach for your individual needs. 

Press Releases

Press releases are reserved for the most newsworthy items and are typically used to share research, exceptional grants/awards, and other topical stories. When possible, let us know about potential press release content three weeks in advance and include high-resolution photos. View recent press releases published by the University.

Media Pitches

Often, we will choose to "pitch" a story to one or more reporters rather than issuing a press release. Usually, this one-on-one contact allows us to "sell" the idea to a reporter, and we can also target specific angles to appropriate news outlets this way. 

News Tips

When a current event coincides with a faculty or staff member's area of expertise, we will suggest that person as an expert to the media. If there is breaking news and you are able to comment, please contact immediately so she can put you in contact with relevant reporters.

Op-Ed Pieces

Opinion editorials (or op-eds) provide an opportunity for faculty to use their expertise on topics in the news to clarify or correct what has been reported in the press, to provide a new perspective on the issue, or to call for further action.  See more information about op-eds below. View recent University-coordinated op-eds.

Feature Stories

We promote feature stories on the School of Architecture website, The University of Texas at Austin news site, and social media. We also send stories to targeted reporters, as appropriate.

Back to Top

UT Experts Guide

The UT Experts Guide is a database managed through University Marketing and Communications that helps journalists connect with faculty experts on a range of different topics. Contact Kelsey Stine if you're interested in being included in the UT Experts Guide.

Back to Top

More About Op-Eds

Texas Perspectives is a wire-style service produced by University Marketing and Communications intended to provide media outlets with meaningful opinion columns on a variety of topics. Authors are faculty members and staffers who work with UMAC to craft columns that adhere to journalistic best practices and Associated Press style guidelines. Below are some tips about writing op-eds. If you are interested, contact Kelsey Stine to discuss.

  • Limit to 650 words. Newspapers have limited space to offer, and editors won’t take time to cut a long article. 
  • Make a single point — well. You cannot solve all the world’s problems in 650 words. Be satisfied with making a single point clearly and persuasively.  
  • Put your main point on top. You have no more than 10 seconds to hook a busy reader, so get to the point and convince the reader that it’s worth his or her valuable time to continue. 
  • Track the news and jump at opportunities. Timing is essential. Whenever possible, link your issue explicitly to something happening in the news – that’s what op-ed editors want to publish.  
  • Tell readers why they should care. Put yourself in the place of the busy person looking at your article. At the end of every few paragraphs, ask out loud: “So what? Who cares?”  
  • Offer specific recommendations. An op-ed is not a news story that simply describes a situation; it is your opinion about how to improve matters. In an op-ed article you need to offer recommendations.  
  • Showing is better than discussing. Humans remember colorful details better than dry facts. When writing an op-ed article, look for great examples that will bring your argument to life.  
  • Embrace your personal voice. When it comes to op-eds you should embrace your own voice whenever possible. By sharing details that will reveal your humanity, your words will ring truer and the reader will care more about what you are saying.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs. Look at some op-ed articles and count the number of words per sentence. You should use the same style, relying mainly on simple declarative sentences.
  • Avoid jargon. If a technical detail is not essential to your argument, don’t use it. Simple language means you are being considerate of readers who lack your expertise and are sitting half-awake at their breakfast table
  • Use the active voice. Active voice is nearly always better than passive voice.
  • Acknowledge the other side. You’ll appear more credible, and almost certainly more humble and appealing, if you take a moment to acknowledge the ways in which their opponents are right.  
  • Make your ending a winner. When writing for the op-ed page, it’s also important to summarize your argument in a strong final paragraph.  
  • Relax and have fun. Many authors, particularly academics, approach an op-ed article as an exercise in solemnity. Frankly, they’d improve their chances if they’d lighten up, have some fun, and entertain the reader a bit. 

Back to Top

Interview Tips

If you have received a media request, we are here to help prepare and support you. We can reach out to the reporter directly to gather relevant background information, ask about interview angles, or see if they will provide questions in advance. When appropriate, we can also create a briefing document with information about the opportunity, work with you on potential interview responses, or conduct media training. Don't hesitate to reach out to Kelsey Stine.

Here are some tips for handling print and broadcast interviews:

  • Contact us with any questions or concerns about how to respond.
  • Take time to gather your thoughts. Before the interview, decide on a few key points you'd like to convey, and have factual and anecdotal examples ready to share. If you or the article can make one point, what should it be?
  • Prepare answers for the toughest questions they could ask. Anticipate difficult questions, and instead of saying "no comment," explain why you can't or won't answer the question.
  • Give short, jargon-free answers to help reporters who tend to use short quotes and sound bites. Answer first, explain second.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Control the conversation. You are the expert. Use bridging statements ("Let me answer you by saying that...") and "flags" to underscore important statements ("the bottom line is...")
  • Remember that nothing is "off the record." Anything you say could end up in the news.
  • Don't hesitate to ask reporters if you can verify information or quotes. 
  • If a reporter makes a major mistake, call the publication and ask for a correction. If you have any concerns about whether the issue should be pursued, contact us.
  • For broadcast interviews or photos, avoid wearing white or busy patterns. Black and jewel tones always look good.
  • Be passionate. Be yourself! 

Back to Top

General Considerations

  • News media are not in the business of promoting the School of Architecture. We need to consider newsworthiness, timeliness, and answer the question "so what"
  • The more information you can share with us, the better. In media outreach, we need to be able to paint a picture for the journalist about why they should cover this, and why their readers should care. 
  • For most types of outreach, try to provide us with as much advance notice as possible. We can develop a much more effective media strategy if we have time to prepare.
  • Almost any publicity needs a compelling accompanying visual
  • Different types of publications need different lead times. National magazines need months of advance notice, while daily newspapers or broadcast outlets will operate on much shorter timelines.

Back to Top