School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Communications with the News Media
The news media should receive permission from the Department of Media and Communications Development before visiting individual schools. Representatives of the news media must report to the principal immediately upon arrival unless they are providing coverage for spectator-attended events.
A. Routine Situations
1. The Department of Media and Communications Development will advise the principal, or designee, of media requests that its staff receives to visit individual schools for the purpose of news coverage. When arriving at a school, news media should check into the school office and inform the principal, or designee, of the purpose for the media inquiry or visit. If the news media representative has arrived at the school without advising the Department of Media and Communications Development, the principal or designee should so advise the department.
2. Staff members may respond to media inquiries concerning their areas of responsibility but should advise their supervisor and the Department of Media and Communications Development of the contact. Any requests for interviews that fall outside of the purview of the staff member contacted by the news media should be referred to the Department of Media and Communications Development.
3. A principal or designee will accompany the media representative during the visit on school grounds.
4. The principal will deny the media access to a student or students or to an activity if the access interrupts the educational process.
5. The principal must guard the privacy of students. Parental permission is necessary prior to granting interviews with students under the age of 18.
B. Emergency Situations
1. Generally the Department of Media and Communications Development will work collaboratively with the principal and other school departments and/or city agencies to coordinate the news coverage of emergency situations. However, it is recognized that on occasion the timing or scope of an emergency situation may result in the need for the principal to handle the initial inquiry. In these cases, while the principal may respond directly to the media representative, he should so advise the Department of Media and Communications Development and the Department of School Administration.
2. Should the principal have doubt about the nature of the subject, the matter will be referred to the Department of Media and Communications Development.
C. Staff-Initiated News Releases
1. Staff members will be encouraged to initiate positive stories about school activities.
2. School or department-generated news releases will be sent to the Department of Media and Communications Development to avoid duplication of information, to assure the appropriateness of the information for the media source and to coordinate media contacts.
Approved by Superintendent: July 16, 1991
Revised by Superintendent: August 14, 1993
Revised by Superintendent: January 5, 2005