Sharing your Murray State news

You have news. We want to share it.

The Office of Branding, Marketing and Communication (BMC) coordinates and oversees all media and public relations activities at Murray State University. We accept and encourage story pitches and submissions throughout the year from all units on campus.

Where can you find your Murray State news? Our distribution channels include the Blue & Gold website and alumni magazine, Racer Nation Information weekly e-newsletter, social media and more. We also share our press releases with local, regional and national media in addition to pitching media story ideas on a routine basis to solicit coverage for the University.

Get started by checking out our Editorial Style Guidelines and then read on for more information about how we can help share your story.

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How do we share Murray State’s news?

The Office of Branding, Marketing and Communication shares Murray State’s great news in the following ways:

  • Writing, editing and distributing original or submitted press releases to news media and on Murray State’s various distribution channels, including the Blue & Gold website, Racer Nation Information e-newsletter and social media
  • Pitching stories and possible events coverage to local and regional news media
  • Helping connect news media with Murray State faculty, staff or students to discuss relevant stories (i.e., a trending local, regional, national or even international story in which the University has faculty or staff members who can serve as subject experts)
  • Producing and filming video stories for campus events to be posted on the University’s YouTube page and on social media as well as compiling video footage to be sent to local and regional media outlets (contact Digital Media Services for more information on video)
  • Creating and compiling stories, events and announcements for inclusion in the Racer Nation Information weekly e-newsletter
  • Reporting and writing stories for the Blue & Gold alumni magazine, the University’s biannual print publication for alumni and friends of the University
  • Creating marketing content for various publications, webpages and broadcast platforms upon request

What are the stories we tell?

We value stories about opportunities that open doors for students to engage with research, hands-on learning or their field of study on a deeper level. We’re also looking to share stories of success from all units of the University.

  • Student success: Did a student land an exciting job or internship? Did they conduct or assist with an interesting or innovative research project? Did they work for, volunteer for or participate in a hands-on learning opportunity? Are they leading an exciting extracurricular or academic project? Did they study abroad or make a difference in the community?
  • Alumni spotlights: Do you know an alumnus with an impressive career? A Murray State grad who won a prestigious award or played a role in shaping a community? Do they have a story you think is worth telling — one people would be interested in hearing?
  • Faculty achievements: Did a faculty member lead research that impacts or interests the general public? Are they teaching a unique course? Did they win an award or substantial grant for their groundbreaking research? Are they making a significant impact in students’ lives?
  • Staff features: Has a staff member influenced people on campus or in the community? Are they leading or creating an exciting new project, organization or opportunity?
  • Program stories: Is a department offering a new degree track? Has a program earned a new ranking, award or accreditation? Did students complete a group (or individual) project with innovative or interesting findings for a class assignment?
  • Events coverage: Is there an upcoming event with a public figure or about a topic with great public appeal? Does it focus on the community or bettering the campus or region? Will the event bring back several alumni or invite members of the community to campus? Note: Events should first and foremost be submitted to the University Calendar.

Where do I submit my news for consideration?

Email your news items or pitches to msu.pr@murraystate.edu. Upon receiving your email, we’ll review your submission or pitch and follow up accordingly. If you regularly work with a member of our staff, please also copy that individual on your initial email.

Provide any necessary background we might need in the body of your email, such as (1) the main idea, (2) contact information and (3) ideal distribution date. If you have a specific photo you would like for us to consider using, please attach that to your email, too, with photo captions and credit. The more information we have from the beginning, the better.

For press releases that have already been written, we prefer to receive submissions as Word documents attached to email messages. Please use our existing press release template and follow the University’s editorial style guidelines.

>When is the deadline to submit a story or pitch?

Sharing news at least two or more weeks in advance is ideal when promoting an upcoming event. Other stories — such as sharing a post-event recap or announcing recent good news — should still be timely (within two weeks before or after). This allows our team to help you in promoting or sharing news of your event, project or accomplishment within a timely fashion.

However, we understand the need to sometimes publish important items on short notice. Let us know if there is a specific date you need your news to be shared by and allow us plenty of time before then to edit, format and schedule your story.

In what style should my press release be written?

Structure your press release as an inverted pyramid with the most essential information — including the who, what, when, where and why — at the top of your story and with subsequent information presented in descending order of importance. Aim to keep your lead (first) paragraph at 35 words or less. Use the University’s Editorial Style Guidelines and avoid technical jargon or overstatements.

Please note that submissions are rarely used exactly as they are originally written. Our staff may edit your submitted press release for length and clarity or to conform with journalistic style and Murray State’s Editorial Style Guidelines. All edited press releases will be returned to you as a PDF for final review to ensure no errors were introduced as a result of editorial changes.

How long should my press release be?

The “less is more” approach is a good place to start. We reserve the right to edit items for length if they are more than 500–600 words and may return lengthy items for you to condense.

Do you use submitted photos?

We will consider using high-resolution, publication-quality submitted photos when sharing stories. Please include a caption and relevant credit information for each submitted photo. If people are included in the photo, include their names (from left to right) in the caption.

General best practices for taking photos include avoiding any blurriness and considering the lighting and faces of subjects. While camera technology in cell phones has improved significantly over the years, some older cell phone models may not have the appropriate software. Subsequently, if a photo is not of a high enough quality, the Office of Branding, Marketing and Communication reserves the right not to use a submitted photo and will select an alternative option.

What are some additional considerations I should follow?

 
  • Use the University’s Editorial Style Guidelines to ensure consistency and accuracy in language.
  • Include the hometowns and majors of all students mentioned in the press release. This will allow us to send the press release to students’ hometown media outlets. Note: If this information is not included in your original submission, it will take longer for the Office of Branding, Marketing and Communication to obtain these details.
  • Assume your reader knows nothing about the subject at hand and present complicated ideas clearly (don’t write for the expert but for everyone). Avoid technical jargon and complex turns of phrase.
  • Provide a way for readers to learn more, including a name and contact information for an individual willing and available to answer questions. Include a URL if a relevant webpage exists.
  • Keep your paragraphs short and concise.
  • Consider human interest elements when pitching or submitting a story. For example, a story about the work being done as a result of a grant and the impact of that work will typically be more interesting to readers than simply hearing news of a faculty member receiving the grant.

Who can answer other questions?

 
  • Shawn Touney, director of communications, can be reached at 270-809-4437 or stouney@murraystate.edu with questions about the Office of Branding, Marketing and Communication’s services, which include the University’s public relations efforts.
  • Abby Ponder, communications specialist, can be reached at 270-809-3208 or aponder1@murraystate.edu with questions about editorial style guidelines, press releases, feature stories, Blue & Gold website, Racer Nation Information e-newsletter and University Calendar as well as pitches for the Blue & Gold alumni magazine.

If you’d like additional information or instruction on the University’s Editorial Style Guidelines or about writing for the University, schedule a review session with Abby Ponder (contact information listed above) at your convenience.