In an effort to align and facilitate enhanced communications for our school division, Roanoke City Schools has a communications protocol to be used by all employees.
The Community Relations Department is responsible for coordinating all contact with the media. Media representatives are to first contact the Community Relations Department for interview requests or permission to access school grounds instead of calling schools or school employees directly. If school employees do answer calls from the media, they should inform the Community Relations Department at 853-2816.
Members of the media are permitted to cover Roanoke City School Board meetings or athletic events without seeking prior consent from the Community Relations Department.
If you are contacted by a media representative and this office has not provided you with prior notification that the reporter would be contacting you, please advise the reporter that he or she must first call the Community Relations Department. If members of the media arrive at your school facility or work site without scheduling an appointment, again please direct them to call my office.
The objectives of the RCPS Communication Protocol are to:
- Streamline the process to capture, classify, and disseminate content
- Provide easier, faster access to information
- Increase productivity by eliminating inefficiencies and barriers to the communication process
- Standardize technologies for managing contact across the organization
- Improve decision making
Media Release Form
All students were given a media release form which requires a parental signature. This form is used by RCPS to identify students who have parental permission to have their image printed and/ or used in electronic materials and publications, including, but not limited to, the internet, video, brochures, and digital media.
If you have specific events that you would like to publicize for your school or department, please email detailed information regarding the event at firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin McLeod is available to all employees of our school system at the following number: 853-2816 (office).
Tips for Media Interviews*
Before the interview:
- Know the reporter, publication/program, interview format, and audience.
- Know your goal for the interview.
- Know what you want to say: Review your "key message points."
- Jot down likely questions and appropriate answers.
- Prepare a range of questions: hard and easy.
- Don't over-answer. Short answers are better than long.
- Don't be fixated by the question. "Bridge" to a related point you want to make.
- Asked about a problem? Talk about a solution.
- Don't let false charges, facts or figures offered by a reporter stand uncorrected.
- Don't repeat a reporter's negative statements or slurs. Frame your reply as a positive statement.
- Don't fall victim to hypothetical situations and "A" or "B" dilemmas.
- Speak clearly. Avoid jargon and bureaucratese.
- Be engaging and likeable.
- Don't know the answer? Don't fake it.
- Keep cool. Don't be provoked.
- Never lie to a reporter.
For Telephone Interviews:
- Buy preparation time by asking to call the reporter back if deadline allows.
- Use notes.
- Establish an "interview atmosphere" and mindset.
- Ask questions in order to gain feedback.
- For radio, speak visually; use words to paint pictures.
For Television Interviews:
- For men, a dark suit and blue shirt work best.
- For women, avoid solid black or white, or busy patterns.
- Don't wear large, shiny, or noisy jewelry.
- Sit erect, but not ramrod-straight, and slightly forward in the chair. Unbutton suit jacket when seated.
- Resist the urge to shout into the microphone.
- Talk to the reporter/interviewer, not the camera.
- Keep a pleasant expression; smile when appropriate.
- Hold your "interview attitude" from the moment you are lit until the interview is completely over and the camera is off.
- Source, Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA)
Broad Organizational Communications Outlets
There are seven broad methods for communications throughout the division. Each has its own core messages, audience, and production schedule.
Refer to the appropriate outlet as described below when division-wide communications are warranted.