Guidelines for Responding to the Media

Media Contact

Ginger Guttner, APR

Communications Manager

Phone (225) 578-9922

ginger@lsu.edu

The presentation of accurate, timely information to the public is critical to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. An effective communications program is a vital component to encourage interest and investment in the School’s programs; to educate the public in both veterinary medicine and public health matters; and to respond to public inquiries in a forthright, professional and truthful manner. The following guidelines are provided to assist and ease School of Veterinary Medicine personnel and students when called upon to respond to media inquiries.

SVM personnel and students should refer any type of media inquiry (phone call, email, etc. from either print or broadcast media sources) to the Communications Team (Thomas Rooney, Director of Strategic Communications, 578-9618, thomasrooney@lsu.edu; Ginger Guttner, Communications Manager, 578-9922, ginger@lsu.edu; Celia Ordoyne, Outreach Coordinator, 578-9825, cordoy3@lsu.edu), prior to responding to the request for information or an interview. SVM personnel and students should not make statements to the media without contacting a member of the Communications Team, regardless of media deadlines.

When it is initially suspected that an event/situation will prompt media attention and inquiries, the Communications Team will meet with the Dean and the appropriate SVM personnel to formulate a written media statement and to plan the School’s response to the media. If an event/situation may have potentially negative public relations implications, the media response should come quickly and accurately. The Communications Team, with the Dean, will determine who will be the spokesperson for the School regarding the particular event/situation.

The Communications Team will meet with SVM personnel prior to all interviews to anticipate questions and formulate appropriate responses. When appropriate, a media statement and any reference materials will be prepared to distribute to the media during the interview. Photo ops will be determined in advance of the interview.

All responses to the media should be confined to that person’s area of expertise and responsibility, without providing personal speculation or opinion. Issues of a sensitive nature (police investigations, zoonotic disease outbreak, bioterrorist or animal rights threats, etc.) will be discussed in advance to determine the level of confidentiality that must be maintained. In all cases, the response must be sensitive to protecting privacy issues of LSU students, faculty and staff, as well as sensitive to matters that might compromise research or investigations.

A patient’s medical record is considered a legal document owned by the School of Veterinary Medicine. Information contained in a patient medical record in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital can only be released upon written authorization by the owner and the attending clinician, or upon court order or subpoena.