Media Contact Protocol

    The Jefferson City Public Schools believe in the importance of working with media representatives to help keep our community informed about school issues. The Communications Department is the primary resource for all school information and the first link for media representatives to contact should they wish to pursue a school-related story.

    Our school district includes in its board policies information specific to the protocol of how staff provide stories to the Communications Department. A part of the policy is as follows:

    School-Sponsored Information Media
    The public school system has in its employ a Director of Communications, charged with the responsibility of public information. Good school publicity and public relations have become extremely important to profitable school endeavor. The district welcomes the assistance in this area of activity, and shall continue to direct school news and publicity through the principal's office. Staff should report such items as they believe worthy of news releases to the office in written memorandum form, giving all the main information and other pertinent data which would regularly be included in a news story. The office will then report those items which have previously been reported to the office.

    Media outlets are requested to follow the Jefferson City Public Schools protocol when wishing to do a story that involves the school district or any of its employees or students:

    1. Always contact the Communications Department prior to making contact with any other school employee or student. The phone number for the Communications Department is (573) 659-3018.
    2. The Director of Communications will provide media outlets with key information. If necessary, the director will also assist in providing key employees to discuss school issues with the reporter.
    3. Media representatives are also reminded that no student may be interviewed or photographed without the school first determining that the student's parents have signed a media release form.
    4. As with interviews, media representatives must contact the Communications Department prior to taking photographs or videotaping on school grounds.

    5. Once permission is granted by the Director of Communications, media representatives are asked to check in with the office of any school that they may be using in a story, photograph, or videotape prior to continuing with their work.
    Again, we appreciate that media representatives have a job to do, but our first priority is student safety followed by the importance of letting staff do their job without interruption.
    A message to our staff:
    Man Bites Dog... and other relevant stories

    The Media and School Stories
    One of the things we in Community Relations often hear from local media is, "Why don't you give us more stories about what's going on in the classroom?" Believe us, we try our best to get those great stories and photo ops to the media, but many times we simply don't know about it. We need your help!

    The Media Wants… (Stories and Photo Ops)
    ➢ Highly visual stories. TV and print photographers love to show students and teachers in action!
    ➢ News value – is the program unique to Jefferson City and surrounding communities.
    ➢ A story that follows local and/or national educational trends.
    ➢ Stories that define key accomplishments.
    ➢ Stories about students and staff that will produce an “ahh” or “ohh” moment.
    ➢ The cuteness factor. (Generally, but not always, reserved for younger students.)
    ➢ Think about an angle for the story – what sets it apart? If we help the media find the angle, they'll likely do the story.
    ➢ In most cases we (the District) want to make sure that there is an element of student achievement involved. That's an easy case to make.

    Even the Good Stories Sometimes Get Passed By
    ➢ There are many occasions when you and your students are doing terrific things, but the media still may not cover the story. Frankly, much of their decision is based on how heavy of a news day it is. If your story gets passed over, don't take it personally.

    Final Thoughts
    ➢ The Jefferson City Public School District's protocol is for all media to go through the Communications Department. Should you be contacted by the media please refer them to our office before proceeding with the story (and let your principal know as well).
    ➢ If you have something you think is newsworthy, but you're not sure, call or email me and we'll talk it over.
    ➢ People want to know about the schools. By allowing the media into our world, we build trust and credibility with our community. 
    Ryan Burns, Director of Communications