A strategy for Mississippi State University to become
the region's most respected land-grant institution
FutureSTATE 2015 Progress Reports
STRENGTHEN PRIDE AND INVOLVEMENT
Initiative: Tell our story by aggressively informing the university community, government leaders, and the public about MSU's accomplishments, and involve them in telling our story to others.
Achievements of the past year:
- Produced nearly 400 news releases that went to state and regional media. National media placements included USA Today (Center for America's Veterans), New York Times (entomological workshops), and multiple national outlets for two research stories (SSRC's study of geography-based mortality rates ran in NY Times and Reuters; and Michael Berk's work with GreenMobile homes was featured on Discovery Channel and other national outlets). Additionally, placed a number of opinion pieces for the president in state media, as well as setting up multiple editorial board meetings that generated visibility for MSU.
- University Relations played a key role in crisis action response, including the development of an online system to track the progress of the unfolding event. The director serves as public information officer for CAT, and other staff members serve as leaders for the communication team. The rollout of the Maroon Alert system generated statewide visibility for the institution.
- Produced nearly 200 publications, including two State of State reports and a high-end "Step into the Maroon" piece, all distributed to a national and state mailing list. Produced a family of student recruiting pieces to support enrollment initiatives, and provided publications and photography for new initiatives such as Parents Services, the leadership programs, and African-American Studies. Produced three issues of Alumnus Magazine and the annual Research Magazine.
- Implemented "Student Express" to provide an additional communication channel with students. Have produced three each week since it was launched last August (more than 50 to date).
- Through the efforts of WMSV, aired more than 17,000 public service announcements in support of MSU programs and events (the station airs 48 PSAs daily).
- WMSV also produces the popular "Southeastern Drive Time," which airs on 17 radio stations in five states. It featured more than 600 public service announcements about MSU in the last year.
- Through collaboration with the TV Center, produced a 30-second "Step into the Maroon" spot for airing on national outlets during televised athletic events. It aired twice on nationally televised football games and 6 times on regional television; it aired three times nationally during basketball games and nine times regionally; it aired twice regionally during women's basketball games; and it aired six times on the Jumbotron during home football games; and it aired statewide during high school basketball playoffs.
- Through the TV Center, implemented a 2-minute coach's show that highlighted MSU recruiting themes. These were done for 12 shows, which also aired regionally.
- Produced 8 "Step into the Maroon" and "Bulldogs on Parade" spots that aired on TV outlets each month throughout the state.
- Provided continuing programming for Channel 18 (MSTV), now also on TV screens in the newly opened Colvard Student Union.
- Provided media training for three VP offices (research, development, and student affairs). University Relations provides public relations counsel to the entire campus on issues of potential sensitivity and support for campus events such as grand openings, research announcements, etc.
Goals for the next year:
- Expand and improve content of Alumnus Magazine to reflect university priorities and goals.
- Enhance Web communications by improving marketable Web-based services such as the faculty experts list, an online photo archive, and other features.
- Increase media placements by aggressively identifying research and programs that have national media potential.
- Re-engineer Student Express to provide interactivity; conduct focus groups with students to determine usefulness/information needs that the vehicle can meet.
- Introduce new monthly video package to be marketed to state TV outlets.
- Coordinate editorial board meetings to introduce interim president, goals and priorities.
- Enhance public service announcements on WMSV to reflect university priorities and goals.
- Roll out new programming for MSTV-Channel 18, which is seen by all patrons of Colvard Student Union.
- Produce a national-caliber 30-second TV spot for use in televised sporting events.
Constraints to full implementation of this initiative:
Level of message saturation in the market; decreased news hole in state newspapers, especially the largest state daily; competition from other universities for the same type of coverage.
Proposed modification of this initiative:
Overall assessment of the status of the initiative or other comments:
There has been progress in ramping up the level of activity and success in this area; however, the perceived needs in this area always will outstrip the perceived successes.