The media relations team helps members of the Oberlin College community share their stories and expertise with local, regional, and national media outlets.
We partner with members of the Oberlin community to pitch stories about Oberlin and its faculty, students, and staff to a wide range of media outlets, respond to queries and requests from local, regional, and national media, and work with reporters to position Oberlin sources for expert commentary.
Members of the campus community are encouraged to submit ideas for pitches to media. These stories may also be published on the Oberlin College website or shared on the college’s social media platforms. While we can’t guarantee every story will turn into a pitch or feature article, we welcome all queries--there are no bad ideas!
The media relations team is available to support members of the Oberlin College community when preparing for media interviews, shaping and editing opinion articles for submission, and developing story ideas.
If you are contacted by a reporter for comment related to your field or particular expertise and are comfortable speaking with the reporter, please respond directly and as soon as possible. If you prefer to first discuss your response or would like us to assess the inquiry, the Office of Communications is available to assist you.
It is important to respond to all media inquiries in a timely manner, even when declining response.
Reporters are often under tight deadlines, and a delayed response could result in a lost opportunity in the future.
When a reporter calls to request an interview, feel free to ask what the article is about and for a sample of the questions the reporter anticipates asking. You do not have to walk into an interview unprepared.
If you’re asked a question and do not have the answer readily available, but can obtain it with a bit of fact-checking, let the reporter know you’ll get back to them with the information.
Provide answers that clearly state the ideas you wish to communicate. Try to avoid long, complex answers or explanations.
Craft your response for the public, not for fellow experts. Avoid the use of technical language that might confuse readers.
Enter an interview with two or three main points you want to make. Throughout the interview you should always circle back to your main points, varying the language, but staying on message.
In general, do not make “off-the-record” comments. If the information is important enough for you to mention, the reporter will likely want to include the information in their story.
Repeat the important points and figures. This is especially true for controversial or sensitive issues. If you feel the interviewer has misunderstood you or put words in your mouth, don't be afraid to further clarify your statements.
It is okay if you don’t want to answer a question. You can simply say, “I don’t have that information” or “I can’t speak to that.”
If a reporter contacts you for comment regarding an institutional matter, please ask for their name and contact information. Share those details with the Office of Communications or ask the reporter to contact Scott Wargo, director of media relations, at 440-775-8474 or Scott.Wargo@oberlin.edu .
If the inquiry was made via email, please forward the request to the Office of Communications.
We will vet the reporter and the publication they represent. We will also get a sense of their perspective for the story and the questions they have to either help you best respond to the inquiry or to identify the person best situated to respond. We want to ensure that the college’s position is communicated in a clear and consistent voice and to avoid inaccurate reporting.
You are under no obligation to respond to media inquiries not within your professional purview. If you choose to respond, please make clear to the reporter that you are speaking as an individual, not on behalf of the institution.
We ask that you notify the Office of Communications regarding any media inquiries or interviews in which you participate.