Public Relations

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Government Relations

University Communications leads the university's interactions with legislative and government bodies. This includes collaborating with UW System on state legislative relations, keeping abreast of recent or proposed legislation and helping faculty, staff and students become informed and engaged in the political process. Such efforts maximize UW-Stout's impact on higher education legislation, including salary increases, use of technology, tuition, state budget appropriations and student financial aid.

While the office is the university's official contact for federal and state government, many other individuals and units also have government contacts. For guidance, government contact information and background information on university-related government issues, contact Doug Mell at Ext. 1198.

Issues Management

University Communications provides leadership in dealing with issues that are sensitive to the university and the general public. These issues may include legal matters, investigations, complaints against the university directed by outside groups, accidents and personal injuries. The office is the central clearing point that gathers and distributes information about sensitive issues internally and externally.

Community Relations

The office serves as a contact point for business and civic organizations, disseminating information about the university and directing inquiries.

Editorial Assistance

Many institutionwide publications are produced, developed and maintained by University Communications. Institutionwide publications are those that describe the university as a whole or are used throughout the university including the Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletins, Student Handbook, admissions marketing materials, the Facts About UW-Stout brochure, UW System-mandated reports, the Campus Guide, and Mission and Strategic Plan. In most cases, the University Editor is responsible for initiating, editing and designing these publications. University Communications works closely with other university units to update the content of these publications.

In addition, the University Editor assists university units with their publication needs. While priority is given to institutionwide publications, individual units of the university may also seek assistance from this office in developing their own publications.

For help with publications, contact Don Steffen at Ext. 1239.

General Advice and Counsel

Office staff will provide assistance in matters that affect and govern public relations. Staff will recommend courses of action to gain support for ideas among specific publics, as well as actions that can be used to lessen negative public reaction to a particular policy or activity.

Media Relations

The office develops and maintains contact with reporters, editors and photographers in the print and broadcast news media at the local, state and national level, providing story suggestions on a regular basis. In addition, media inquiries are initially directed to this office for answer or referral.

Any staff member may deal informally with the press, but official announcements (including news releases) from the university must be processed through the Office of University Communications. Contact Doug Mell at Ext. 1198 for advice and counsel in dealing with the press.

University News Services

University Communications distributes news releases, photographs and other material about the university to the news media. News service activities include:

General Advance Publicity

The office provides advance news releases about pending campus events, including plays, concerts, workshops, lectures and special offerings by the university. Send information in written form about the event to Jerry Poling. The office will provide a written release to media outlets, including the Stoutonia.

Hometown News Service

The office distributes newsworthy information: Chancellor's Award recognition, graduation, awarding of scholarships, cooperative education placement and other notable activities. 

For help with students’ questions about the Hometown News Service, contact University Communications at Ext. 2381.

Feature Service

The office maintains a list of potential feature stories which may have appeal to local, state and national news media. In some cases, the office provides written features to the news media. In other cases, the office maintains a feature idea inventory for editors and reporters who will visit the campus to do their own stories. To suggest a feature story, send a brief explanation of the story idea to Doug Mell.

Institutional Announcements

The office prepares new press releases about key administrative and institutional changes such as appointments, promotions, new policies and other information of interest to the general public.

External announcements of appointments require approval of the chancellor. After the appointment is approved, begin the announcement process with a form available from the chancellor's office. On-campus announcements may be commenced by the appointing authority, usually the division or department head, or dean.

To get publicity for students' honors and awards from an external organization, first check to see if the external organization is preparing its own news release. If it is, ask that a copy of the release be sent to the Office of University Communications. If no news release is being prepared by the organization, send details about the honor or award in writing to Doug Mell. Please specify if the announcement is for release on or off campus.

Announcements of new programs or changes in policies are initiated by the administrator with immediate oversight. All information for institutional announcements should be conveyed in writing to University Communications following formal approval by the appropriate authority.


Internal Communication

Ongoing internal communication with the campus is facilitated through newsletters, publications, electronic mail and other appropriate channels. Information is communicated weekly to staff through UW-Stout Today, a daily e-mail newsletter, and Community News, a weekly e-mail newsletter. The office also maintains contact with the student newspaper, the Stoutonia.