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Below is a copy of the message that I sent on Sept. 28 to the leadership of the college’s student media outlets describing the reasoning behind the new student media access policy and how it will be implemented.
As noted in my message, neither faculty nor students are required at any time to go through the Media Relations Office in order to speak with a reporter. Nor does it apply to students working on class projects, an exclusion intended to protect academic freedom. This policy only applies to media reporters contacting members of Administrative Assembly serving in their roles as representatives of college policy.
The policy will now include student media in a practice that has long been in place for all media unaffiliated with IC. That policy has worked well as a means of directing media inquiries to the appropriate officials, and by using the same process our student reporters will have a more authentic professional experience.
As I also point out in the letter, I am prepared to revisit these procedures if necessary in order to resolve unanticipated issues. I hope this helps clear up the rationale for the policy as well as indicating our determination to make the procedure work without inhibiting the ability of the Ithacan and other student media outlets to cover their stories.
To the news editors of the Ithacan, WICB, ICTV, and Buzzsaw Magazine,
This is to let you know that effective next Monday, October 1, you are asked to route any requests for interviews with the IC administrative leadership related to IC news stories through our media relations office, which is headed by Dave Maley. I have attached a document to this email that contains contact information for Mr. Maley and the media relations office, as well as a listing of the covered administrators and their contact information. Note that this policy is strictly limited to the administrators listed here AND to instances where you want to interview them about IC policies or college developments. The procedure for speaking with all faculty, all students, all third parties and all staff not listed in this document is unchanged -- you simply contact them. The procedure for speaking with anyone on this list about any topic not related to IC policies or college developments is also unchanged -- simply contact us.
I had a chance to meet with the Ithacan editorial board to explain the purpose of this policy and how it will work, and apologize that I have not had a chance to meet with the rest of you. In a nutshell, the policy is intended to be beneficial both to the college administrative leadership and to you in any stories you might develop related to Ithaca College administration, policies, etc. For you, the policy will enable Mr. Maley to direct you to the individuals who are directly involved in formulating or implementing a given policy, thus getting you to your most helpful contact(s) more quickly. For the administrative leadership, and particularly the president and vice presidents, the policy will reduce what has been a tendency to rely too much on just a few people (mainly us) to comment on everything, sometimes on so many stories in a short period of time that it detracts from our focus on our actual jobs. Everyone on the attached list is authorized to speak for the college in their specific areas, and your stories will not be diminished in authoritativeness as a result of citing a wider range of IC administration sources.
It is explicitly NOT the intention of this policy to limit access to IC administrators, to prevent you from pursuing certain stories, or to cause an unwarranted time delay in completing your interviews. The practice of working through Media Relations is long established at IC for all independent media external to the college, and it works well. In applying this policy also to media affiliated with IC (in the varying extent each of you are), we are simply applying a common professional standard and procedure on media access generally.
It is my belief that this policy will not be a hindrance to your pursuit of information on stories you are working on, except perhaps to the extent you seek to obtain interviews very close to your deadlines. Advance planning, which will generally mean at least 24 hours notice, will be important in your side of the bargain. Our side of the bargain will be to maintain access given advance planning on your part.
Should the policy work out differently than we anticipate --should you find that it is preventing you from obtaining reasonable access to IC administrators -- we can revisit the policy in a few months and tweak it to fix unanticipated problems.
In the meantime, should you have any questions about what is covered by the policy please contact Dave Maley as indicated in the attached guide.