May 8, 2019
Since my previous communication on Loyola University Chicago’s media policy, John Slania, interim dean of the School of Communication, and I convened a working group to review the updated policy and related best practices for protecting free speech and helping the University maintain its interest in accurate media coverage by all outlets. The working group included journalists from both external and student media, a representative from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and representatives from across the University. Following a thoughtful and productive meeting on April 10, the working group finalized the updated media policy and completed its charge.
In addition to continuing to encourage Loyola’s faculty, staff, and administrators to engage directly with media, the updated media policy better clarifies the role that University Marketing and Communication plays in assisting with proactive, reactive, and event-based media relations.
Again, thank you for your contributions to this important initiative and for the many ways you work with members of the media to share your expertise and scholarship. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out as needed.
University Marketing and Communication
February 22, 2019
On Tuesday, I joined the Council of Deans and discussed the University's media relations policy. I'm grateful to Interim Provost Margaret Callahan for the invitation and to John Slania, interim dean of the School of Communication, for following up with me after the meeting.
As President Rooney has said publicly and as I shared with the council, since assuming my role last November, I have been assessing the University Marketing and Communication (UMC) department, including the media relations policy, with the goal of delivering the best possible program, policies, and practices. Dean Slania and I have been in conversation these past few months and are collaborating on next steps, which include making changes to the media relations policy; meeting with representatives from student media to discuss this policy and any policy they may have; and forming a task force to deliver policies that represent best practices for protecting free speech and helping the University maintain its interest in accurate media coverage of the University by all outlets. The task force would include a cross section of stakeholders, including administration, faculty, student journalists, and outside experts, including professional journalists.
Loyola's media relations policy is not new and has been in place since at least 2011. In light of an increased volume of media inquiries this past year, UMC further refined the policy and applied it more assertively, requesting that all media inquiries be handled through UMC. While the intention has been to be of service in providing replies to media and pairing reporters with the best sources for accurate information, the policy has caused concern among faculty, student media, and beyond.
While the task force will be formed shortly to begin formulating a long-term media policy, we have not delayed in revising the policy to clarify that faculty and administrators are encouraged to engage directly with members of the media. Our UMC team remains committed to assisting media personnel and faculty or administrators.
President Rooney, Interim Provost Callahan, Interim Dean Slania, and I, in collaboration with Student Media Manager Dr. Ralph Braseth, agree that it makes most sense to post a working draft of the updated policy immediately and then review it as previously outlined.
Thank you to the many faculty members who have reached out and/or expressed the need for these changes and a more thorough review. Be assured that I will keep you updated as we move through these next steps.
University Marketing and Communication