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News and Public Relations

The Office of Communications and Public Relations is responsible for the university’s news, media relations and strategic communications functions.

Our team consists of staff writers and editors who work together with other campus colleagues to communicate university messages and information to the public. The office is the official liaison between the university and all news media; works with the unit’s photography and video teams for photos and video shared with external news media and used in university publications; produces the university magazine and faculty-staff electronic news digest; issues news releases and answers media inquiries; and maintains news content.

News

We prepare news releases about the university and disseminate them to the news media. Depending upon the significance of the news item, releases may be sent to news media locally, regionally, statewide and even nationally. We pitch story ideas to reporters, editors and news directors and issue media advisories alerting the press to newsworthy happenings on campus.

Inside WCU

In partnership with Internal Communications our staff writers support this digital newsletter for faculty and staff. The content is curated from internal communications, university news and story content to help connect faculty and staff in the endeavor to carry out the university’s mission.

The WCU Magazine

The Western Carolina University magazine is produced by University Communications and Marketing for alumni, faculty, staff, friends and students. The magazine is designed to help readers feel connected to the WCU community and to promote its institutional values and commitment to offering opportunities for those who aspire to make a difference in their world. The views and opinions that appear in that publication are not necessarily those of the editorial staff or the official policies of the university.

Visit the Online Magazine

Media Relations

We respond to media requests for information about the university and its people and programs, and we help connect members of the media with faculty experts on campus who can provide insight to help the public understand complex topics. And we are glad to assist members of the university community with newspaper opinion pieces (also called op-eds), offering editorial assistance and helping to get the op-ed published.

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Crisis Communications

We also play an important role in crisis and emergency communication, working in cooperation with the Emergency Services Office, University Police and other university leaders to provide accurate information to the campus community as quickly as possible during a time of emergency. In addition to the WCU Alerts system, which allows students, faculty, staff and parents to receive a message via e-mail, cell phone or home phone in case of emergency, updated information is posted on the Campus Emergencies webpage.

When inclement weather forces changes to the academic schedule and other campus activities, we help inform students, faculty and staff of those changes through the Weather-Related Announcements webpage.

Writing Style

We write our news content in accordance with the Associated Press Stylebook, the grammar and usage guide used by the majority of news media outlets in the U.S. We do so to help ensure that our stories are picked up and used by the news media.

Please be aware that AP Style includes some rules about grammar and punctuation that do not correspond with those found in the Chicago Manual of Style or the scholarly writing styles including MLA and APA. For example, there is no Oxford comma in AP Style, and the courtesy title of “Dr.” is reserved for those who hold medical degrees. We use quotation marks around the titles of books, movies, songs and other compositions as opposed to italics. And, in keeping with the AP Stylebook’s admonition to “in general, avoid unnecessary capitalization,” we do not capitalize words such as professor, director or associate vice chancellor unless they are used as titles immediately before a person’s name. If AP Style says the stand-alone word “president” is not capitalized, even when referring to the president of the United States, we don’t capitalize the stand-alone word “chancellor.” (And she’s OK with that…we checked)

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