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Brand execution guidelines

Story, press release and media guidelines

Media relations and Strategic Communications

Media Relations and Strategic Communications, as the central communication unit of the university and part of the Office of University Affairs, provides media relations guidance to all ASU communicators. University matters that require communication activities come in both proactive and reactive forms. Below are recommended approaches and expectations for various topics. For advice about any matter, reach out to MRSC

ASU Media Enterprise

The ASU public enterprise includes several of its own media outlets, all of which now live under the ASU Media Enterprise umbrella. The unit distributes premium content through multiple media properties including Arizona PBS, Future Tense, GlobalFutures productions, Global Sport Matters, Indian Country Today, Issues in Science and Technology, Leonardo, Transformations, and Zocalo Public Square.

With today’s audiences consuming content across a wide range of media platforms, whether that’s mobile apps, websites, streaming platforms, video content, podcasts, newsletters or magazines, ASU Media Enterprise meets consumers where they’re at. To ensure communicators understand how to support the unit’s goals, the Brand team and Outreach Hub serve as liaisons between Media Enterprise and internal and external audiences visit:


Our goal is to be transparent, honest and accurate in our communications in any form, in accordance with communication industry best practices and university ethics expectations

Press releases and stories

Press releases

ASU press releases should be coordinated with MRSC and are used only when necessary and strategically beneficial. Press releases are mostly reserved for university news and must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Joint press releases that are co-branded with ASU must be approved through MRSC. Announcements such as grant awards, new partnerships and faculty achievement generally are NOT suitable for press releases. Supplying ASU quotes for press releases by others is an accepted practice, but also should be carefully considered.

Use press releases sparingly. There are many other ways to communicate information that we want to share, but that does not rise to the level of “news.”

Press conferences

Units that are contemplating holding press conferences, or participating in others’ press conferences, should advise MRSC early in the planning process – and at least 48 hours before the press conference.

What makes a good press release?

In general, a press release should quickly hit the high points of the story, event or discovery and note why it matters.

Some general tips:

  • Keep it to one page.
  • Lead with the news. Don’t be cute; get right to the point. Answer the question, “Why should they care about this?”
  • Put your most important facts at the start.
  • Remember to cover the “who, what, where, when, why and how.”
  • Keep it conversational. Would the average person — like an assignment editor — clearly understand the release and its terms and language? This isn’t the place for industry jargon.
  • Have an easy and obvious way for people to reach out with questions.
  • Have a simple one- or two-line main headline.
  • Have a one-line subhead.
  • Use AP style. It matters when pitching the media.
  • If you’re sending this to TV, think visually. What will they “see”?
  • Embed links to related websites, photos, videos and other assets.
  • Have someone not directly involved with the event, project or research read over the release and see if they “get it.”
  • Don’t oversell it. That’s the quickest way to lose the story and hurt your pitching credibility.

How do I pitch a story for the ASU News reporters to write?

To request that ASU News covers your story, send an email to asunewspitches@ with the relevant details of the potential story and give plenty of lead time. The team will decide what they have the ability to cover and you will be kept informed. 

In between the daily incoming and outgoing communications, MRSC is steadily working on an assortment of priority projects each year.

To see our team’s highest-level priorities, visit: 

Pitch a story to ASU News


What kinds of stories is ASU News looking for — whether I write them or the ASU News team does?

The ASU News team is looking for unit written stories spotlighting ASU research and expertise, student success, community outreach and societal impact that appeal to a mainstream audience. The style of writing should allow anyone — whether they are connected to ASU or not — to take something away from the story and understand the impact that ASU is having on students and the community. Some submissions can be the length of a brief (250—350 words) and some can be full stories. Submissions also must be sent in a timely manner after an event. We request that you let us know as early as possible that something will be submitted, so we can plan for it

Sometimes you just need to upload an announcement that a professor was named to a committee. And plenty of those are published on But if it’s possible, look for larger story possibilities. Sometimes you just need to write that committee announcement. But other times you’ll be able to turn it into a Q&A showcasing that professor’s expertise on a certain topic — the committee appointment can be briefly mentioned in the intro, but the focus is on sharing their knowledge and expertise with the reader.

Request access to ASU News


How do I get my story in the ASU News email newsletter?

Stories in the ASU News email are designed to be a mix of celebration of big wins for the university, explorations of the latest cutting-edge research, spotlights on our expert faculty members, student-centric stories that appeal to the ASU community and top-view trend pieces about the university and its mission. Anything in our email should apply to a broad audience.

If you have a story that you believe fits that bill, please give the editors a heads-up by emailing Many slots are filled by work coming from our reporters, but often we have space to include stories from unit communicators as well.

What if I need an approved quote from President Crow for my story? 

Requests for comment from President Crow in most cases will be handled by MRSC. If you have a request for a comment from the President, email Chris Fiscus, Jay Thorne or Nikki Ripley and we will assist.

Need an assist, or want to share an upcoming story or event that likely will land media attention?

ASU media relations officers cover beats across the university. To connect with the media relations officer who you need, contact

For breaking news and crisis communications

Crisis communications

ASU has an Emergency Operations Plan for major events such as police situations. In these situations, MRSC will lead media relations and internal/external communications, working closely with unit communicators as appropriate. Unit media relations and social media teams will defer to MRSC and only amplify central communications-directed messages.


Respond promptly to media inquiries and assist in the timely production of public records requests wherever possible. Reporters will file stories with or without us; consider the reality that early participation in their stories with university messages and information increases the likelihood of fair and complete content. At the very least, a response that we cannot discuss a matter at this time is, in most cases, better than no response at all.

Exclusives and embargoes

Offering exclusive access to members of the media should be weighed carefully. It can benefit the story (and ASU) to give a ‘head start’ for a reporter to better understand a story ahead of a deadline scenario, especially if the story is complicated. But the media member must agree that the information is embargoed until a set time and will not be shared ahead of that time. The media member also must agree not to conduct interviews for reaction that would essentially then leak the news. Generally, offering the story in advance under embargo should be considered with known media members (where there is a preexisting relationship) or when offering an exclusive first-look will help the story get out of the gates quickly and accurately when announced.

On any story involving the entire university, or involving national news media, MRSC must be notified in advance of granting an exclusive.

Remember, it is essential to clearly communicate the time and date when other outlets will be provided the information and to be clear about the time zone.

For story, press release and media guidelines visit:

Attorney-client privilege

If a unit communicator is contemplating seeking legal advice from the Office of General Counsel to respond to media questions, MRSC should be made aware of what is happening. Emails and draft documents in these scenarios may be covered by attorney-client privilege, pending OGC approval. Note that if a privileged communication with OGC is forwarded to other parties, it can break the string of protection and be subject to public records requests.

Public records

With few exceptions, communicators’ discussions about managing media issues are public records regardless of their paper or digital form. This can include emails as well as messages via text or Slack. For questions about public records, contact Kim Demarchi in OGC.

If you receive a records request, direct reporters to fill out a public records request through the portal at If a request involves a donor, please inform ASU Enterprise Partners.

Off-the-record media conversations

Avoid off-the-record conversations for any reason. If you have consulted with your unit supervisor and going off the record is truly unavoidable, ensure you approach the conversation clearly and appropriately. Ask first if you can go off the record; then verbally mark the start and end of the portion that is off the record. You cannot retroactively ask that something you already shared be off the record. Contact the Office of General Counsel for guidance, and notify MRSC.

When to notify MRSC

It is critical, and expected by the President’s Office, that units fielding media requests from national or international outlets inform MRSC of possible coverage. Email and MRSC Media Relations Director Veronica Sanchez with a description of the outlet, the nature of the story, your unit’s intended response and relevant timeframes like deadlines and publication/airing dates.

Similarly, units that are anticipating negative or controversial coverage from any outlet (local, national, international) are asked to inform MRSC immediately. Among other topics, this would include potential active litigation.

Email or call 480-965-3502.


ASU expert directory

We talk daily with Arizona media of all types and are in regular contact with more than 100 top national journalists. We also are on call to help with breaking news or crisis communications situations in real time. 

A directory of hundreds of experts in a variety of topic areas is maintained by MRSC at These experts have agreed to serve as sources for inquiring media. 

This is a powerful tool for landing media attention for faculty; it also is a great tool to help journalists on deadline. See the expert guide.

For questions on the expert guide, contact

Media training

In 2024, MRSC launched a standardized media training module to help ASU units train faculty and staff who are likely to speak with media. Visit the brand guide webpages to find the training. Sessions will be offered by MRSC regularly throughout the year. An advanced training module also is being developed.

Units are asked to underscore the principles of the training, combined with their own expertise, with faculty and staff as they prepare for media interviews.

MRSC also offers media training and has a broadcast studio on the Tempe campus, which can be used for podcasts, portrait photography and broadcast interviews. For questions or assistance, contact

Guidelines and resources

Network of lead communicators

An orchestrated network of lead communicators exists to ensure units are aligned with university branding and brand strategy.

The lead communicator manages the creative and strategy for their unit and is required to be well-versed in the overall university brand. They are the liaison for the Brand team in each unit and are your first stop and go-to resource for any unit branding, logo and signage requests and questions and reviews for subunit marketing and branding.

To find your lead communicator, visit:

Weekly communicators call

MRSC convenes a weekly (biweekly in the summer) Zoom meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Mondays to bring together all university communicators. This is intended to be an enjoyable “town square” environment for communicators to share their current and upcoming activities of note, and to ask for assistance and ideas. Everyone should have at least one thing to share for most meetings – please don’t hold back. To be added to the meeting invitation, please email Veronica Sanchez or Jerry Gonzalez.


Formulate accurate, positive and persuasive messages and supporting points at the outset of any campaign, major announcement or significant university issue. Key messages should focus on no more than three main points and be affirmative, declarative statements about what the university believes, intends, achieves or does. Supporting points should be statistics, success stories and examples that clearly support those messages. Messaging should be used throughout the duration of a communication effort to uniformly guide press releases, media hits, social media posts, media interviews, web copy, paid advertising, newsletter articles, brochures and other components.

Messaging documents are not fact sheets or white papers; they are documents that quickly and clearly provide public positioning around specific topics. They are public records, potentially, so they should never contain confidential information. While conveying approved messages to reporters in verbal or written responses is encouraged, it is not a best practice to externally share the messaging documents themselves.

If you want assistance with creating or testing effective message points, reach out to MRSC.

Photo and video

Adult subjects: Model releases must be obtained in order for the photo/video content to be eligible for marketing use. Content featuring adult subjects who have not signed releases may only be used for editorial/documentary purposes (e.g., news, social media posts about the event) and may not be used outside the original context in which the content was captured.

Minor subjects (under age 18): Model releases including parent/guardian signatures should be obtained for any minors being captured, regardless of whether the content will be used for editorial/documentary, media use or marketing purposes. A copy of the release should be on file within the department that captured the content even if the release was obtained by a different unit. Photo/video content of minors without signed releases should not be published in any listed galleries to prevent the possibility of accidental unlawful use/sharing.

MRSC photo galleries may be viewed at For all other inquiries, including copyright and editorial vs. marketing uses, please email