Office of University Relations

Media Relations Policy and Procedures

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As a public institution, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, its programs, activities, and plans are of special interest to the public. It is important to present the University in a manner that is both accurate and consistent with the University’s mission. Therefore, it is the University’s responsibility to provide accurate and consistent information to avoid any misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or confusion.

In the interest of orderly and proactive management of the information released to the Media, the following policy and procedures are in effect:


The primary University Spokesperson is the Interim Director of University Relations, (808) 932- 7339. In the InterimDirector’s absence, the Director of Media Relations, (808) 932-7669; cell: (808) 987-1043, will serve in that capacity.

The University Spokesperson will provide broad, general information in response to Media inquiries. However, for matters that require more detailed information, Administrators and Faculty will respond accordingly.


Responses to Inquiries from the Media:

  1. Deans, directors, faculty, and staff will not respond to inquiries from the media concerning matters such as personnel issues, crisis management, emergencies, University policies and fiscal operations. Instead, such inquiries should immediately be directed to the respective Vice Chancellor or Administration, who will respond accordingly. The University Spokesperson should also be notified so that the Chancellor’s Office (Private Secretary or Executive Assistant to the Chancellor) is also notified of such inquiries.
  2. Deans, directors, faculty, and staff may respond directly to media inquiries on ordinary, day-to-day matters such as course information, awards, special events, scholarships, publications, etc. However, all inquiries should be reported immediately to the Director of Media Relations by telephone, (808) 932-7669.

The University Spokesperson will:

  • be informed promptly when any member of the UH Hilo community receives inquiries from the news media
  • keep the Chancellor and other senior administrators informed of all relevant media situations and inquiries
  • consult with the Chancellor to prepare statements for the Chancellor to release to the Media
  • inform the UH Office of External Affairs, (808) 956-8109, of all relevant media situations and inquiries

The Director of Media Relations will:

  • distribute all University news releases, review and approve those prepared by other members of the University and check with relevant personnel [Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean, and/or designated contact person(s)] as needed for accuracy
  • keep the Chancellor and other senior administrators informed of all relevant media situations and inquiries by direct communication or through the University Spokesperson
  • retain and file copies of all news releases distributed by UH Hilo, establishing a central locale for all University communication with the Media
  • ensure all UH Hilo news releases are posted on the websites of UH Hilo, and the UH System, as relevant

The Sports Information Director is responsible for the Athletic Department’s news releases regarding athletic events and other department news. The Director of Media Relations is responsible for news releases involving personnel and fiscal matters.

Media on Campus

To ensure the privacy of UH Hilo students, faculty, staff, and guests, all external news media should contact the Office of University Relations, (808) 932-7339, prior to visiting. For any non-news filming and photography requests, refer to the Guidelines for Filming and Photography at the University of Hawaiʻi.

UH Hilo Filming and Photography on Campus

The University reserves the right to film and photograph members of the University community, which includes its students, faculty, and staff, in situations appropriate of an academic institution and to use in University publications, video, websites, news releases, social media, and other recruitment or promotional materials.  Students who have exercised their Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) rights are exempt. The Office of University Relations can provide a University of Hawaiʻi System Model/Liability Release Form for use as needed.

Emergency Response Statement

In the event of an emergency, the Director of University Relations will work with members of the Emergency Operations Staff (see UH Hilo Emergency Operations Plan) to gather information and coordinate distribution to University faculty, staff, students and the local community.

  • Prepare and issue official statements regarding University operations to the Media
  • Compose and distribute email notifications to the University community
  • Work with the Web Services to provide emergency updates on the UH Hilo Webpage and social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Following initial notifications of emergency, the Director of Media Relations will prepare update notifications as needed.

Approved by the Chancellor: Bonnie D. Irwin (signature on file)
Date: November 1, 2019