UM News Service

News Guidelines 

The UM News Service is pleased to share the good news of the institution that celebrate and exemplify our public flagship mission. We are always looking for stories to share about UM and the accomplishments and honors of its students, faculty, alumni and staff. News stories are generally published to statewide media and published under UM News on the UM homepage. 

Our sector prioritizes stories that parallel goals with in UM's Priority For Action No. 5: Proudly Tell the UM Story and within these general themes: 

  • Stories of campus vibrancy
  • Stories of student academic achievement and rigor
  • Stories celebrating public impact from UM's research enterprise
  • Stories demonstrating UM's commitment to career readiness
  • Stories that illustrate UM's mission of transforming lives 

University Communications places University content and stories in a variety of platforms that include UMToday, Vision magazine, the Montanan magazine, UM News, UM social media channels and a host of UM external newsletters. Additionally, University Communications reserves the right to decline promoting the proposed news. 

If campus partners would like to request a news story, please complete a survey and share details that will help the news team identify and craft the best platform to share your news. 

Before submitting a news release, consider these questions: 

  • Is it about high-impact research findings appearing in a national peer-reviewed journal (especially research with clear clinical or practical implications)?
  • Is it a significant grant or award (generally speaking, more than $500,000)?
  • Is it about faculty or staff members receiving a state or national award or professional distinction?
  • Is it about the development of programs or initiatives that will affect a significant number of students or other members of the campus community?
  • Is it about initiatives or educational opportunities for the general public?
  • Does it relate to an issue of current significance (e.g.., climate change, elections, wolf hunting, etc.)
  • Does it appeal to or impact a broad swath of the public, not just a small subset?
  • Is it a University-sponsored event that is open to the public and/or is appealing to members of the media?

Particular questions about news releases can be directed to Dave Kuntz, UM strategic communications director and UM spokesperson, by emailing dave.kuntz@umontana.edu or calling 406-243-5659. The campus community is always welcome to email news@umontana.edu with an outline of the news to be shared. When submitting information for a news release, keep the 5 W’s and H of journalism in mind: Who, what, when, where, why and how. Be sure to include all pertinent information.

University Communications prefers to send releases two weeks to 10 days ahead of events. After preparing a draft using the information provided, sector writers will "vet" the release with the submitter to verify it is accurate as written. We do not send releases out to the media until they are reviewed by the source. News releases are sent directly to news organizations across Montana and the region.

All news releases are placed online and are searchable at http://www.umt.edu/news/UM’s media relations procedures state that University Communications prepares and distributes all news releases and announcements (except those from Intercollegiate Athletics). University employees should not distribute news releases on their own. 

Faculty/Staff Awards

In general, the UM News Service handles faculty and staff awards as described above and encourages the preparation of such brief items by media specialists in the individual colleges. The exceptions include announcements of honorary doctorates and nationally or internationally prominent honors, such as large research grants and fellowships. These stories are written by UM News Service staff and distributed to media outlets across Montana.

Student Awards/Scholarships/Honors

The UM News Service will prepare news releases about student honors, including nationally prominent student awards such as Truman, Rhodes or Goldwater scholarships. The News Service will also prepare a graduation list and the regular honor roll using records from the Registrar's Office. The graduate list and honor roll releases are distributed within Montana and to neighboring states.

Donations

The News Service recognizes the valuable contributions donors provide to advance UM and works in partnership with the UM Foundation when acknowledging donations in the media. In general, donations to the university may be recognized in the following ways:

  • Inclusion in the Montanan magazine
  • Inclusion in UM Foundation newsletters and communication pieces
  • Social media posts
  • Mention in university-wide, college, department or foundation email news messages
  • Mention in UM Foundation campaign or annual report
  • On occasion, and in coordination with the UM Foundation, the News Service will prepare and distribute press releases for unique donations.

Press Conferences

The need for press conferences depends on University goals and is under the discretion of the Office of the President and the University Marketing and Communications sector. 

If the topic has university-wide, community-wide or statewide impact, the News Service may invite all local media for press conferences. Such events must be recommended by the Strategic Communications Director and approved by the Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Please contact UM Strategic Communications Director Dave Kuntz at 406-243-5659 for more information.

Policies and Guides