March 14, 2002
Tulane's online News Room has undergone some remodeling, and the result is a better resource for both the media and the Tulane community. "The page was designed primarily for members of the news media, and we still consider that to be our primary audience," says Deborah Grant, assistant vice president for university communications, of the retooled public relations Web page.
"But we also think that it's a good repository for news about the university that might appeal to faculty, staff, students, prospective students or alumni. It's sort of an online news stand for anybody who wants more information about the university."
"It used to be more centered on our publications--'Here's Inside Tulane, here's Tulanian,'" adds Rachel Hoorman, Web content manager. "Now it's, 'Here is our news. Period.' We're just trying to present what's going on on campus."
The News Room still includes links to the various Tulane publications--everything from Tulane Daily News and President Cowen's Tulane Talk to Neighborhood Hotline and the Hullabaloo--as well as a search function to locate information across publications and news releases.
But now, members of the media--and anyone interested in learning more about Tulane, campus events or university resources--have more ways to do so. The first thing viewers see when they visit the News Room is assistant director of public relations Mike Strecker's daily e-mail release Tulane News, a brief item on news and events at Tulane.
Anyone wishing to receive Tulane News can now sign up to receive press releases via e-mail as soon as they're posted. According to Strecker, the immediacy and precision of e-mail makes for a more efficient transmittal of information than fax.
"We're approaching people who we have a relationship with, so it's not just going to the general mailbox," Strecker says. "We're tailoring our message rather than doing the scattershot approach where you throw the information out and hope that it sticks."
With the help of Technology Infrastructure Services, the public relations office converted its experts sourcebook into a fully searchable Web database. Now, reporters seeking faculty experts on everything from AIDS to Zoroastrianism can search by name or area or expertise to locate Tulane sources for interviews. In addition to contact information, each faculty member in the database has a Web page with an abbreviated curriculum vitae.
Internet users also now have online access to the complete university press kit. With the click of a mouse, reporters can view Tulane's history, a university fact sheet, information on President Cowen and the board of administrators, a campus map, and the president's report. They can also download high-resolution images suitable for print publication.
Another new feature of the page is Tulane in the News, a regularly updated section with links to Tulane-related articles from across the Net. A recent sampling included links to hot-off-the-press articles quoting Tulane faculty in the Washington Post, Discover magazine and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Strecker emphasizes that while the News Room is primarily aimed at external audiences, it's also a great resource for the Tulane community.
One new feature is aimed squarely at the Tulane community. Tell Us Your News is a form that enables faculty members who have won awards, published books or articles, conducted groundbreaking research or accomplished anything else of note to submit information directly to the public relations office. That information can then be shared with both the media and the rest of the Tulane community.
"Today, whenever anybody wants information about a subject, they go online to find it," says Grant. "I think by beefing up the News Room and making all sorts of information accessible, we're meeting a need. The information has been there, but we haven't been as efficient at translating it to the electronic world as we should have been. This is a step in the right direction."
The upgrades to the News Room Web page were accomplished with the help of the TIS Web team, which includes Rodney Bickham, Jim Crews, Jim Kwiatkowski and Hudson Oliver. The News Room is accessible via the "News" link at the bottom of the university home page or directly at http://www2.tu lane.edu/news_and_publications.cfm.
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