Best Practices

Is it news? A decision-making guide

Strategic Communications strives to tell the stories of UC Davis to national audiences, including journalists. We reach journalists through pitches, feature stories, news releases and sometimes social media. We use journalistic criteria when deciding which stories to tell. Here are questions that help us determine what to cover.

  • Is this story timely: Is it happening now, or related to current events?
  • Can readers draw a link from this story to their own lives?
  • Is it something that changes our view of the world or our place in it?
  • Has the work been submitted or accepted for publication?
  • Does the work have a strong visual component?

If you think you have a story that could attract regional or national media attention, contact us. We can work with you to decide how to best publicize the work and explore opportunities for the expert to speak to the media.

If you have questions, please contact the News and Media Relations team at 530-752-1930.

News and Media Relations Communication Tools

In today’s connected environment, there are many ways to reach target audiences. It’s important to know what story you are telling and who you want to tell it to. Once you know those two things, you can decide how to tell the story. Below are some tools we use for telling the story to different audiences.



Social media

  • YouTube videos
  • Reddit AMAs
  • Facebook Live


  • Shared events
  • Science Cafes and other public forums

Publicizing honors and awards

UC Davis faculty and researchers receive a large number of professional honors and awards. These are an important reflection of the reputation and influence of our faculty. Because of the sheer volume of awards, we must be selective in promoting them.

  • The media shows interest in the highest national or international honors that cross multiple disciplines: election to National Academies or the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; National Medal of Science; MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship; Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, or similar.
  • Significant multidisciplinary honors received by multiple faculty may be run as a single story for Dateline, and also issued as a news release — for instance, Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Hellman Foundation Fellows.
  • Most professional honors (elections as fellows of a professional society, for example) are recognized in the Dateline “laurels” section. Colleges, schools and departments are encouraged to publish these awards on their websites and publications as well.
  • Grants are not typically considered as being “honors” for publicity purposes.
  • Because of the number of such awards we do not typically publicize honors and awards to students.
  • Honors and awards to nonacademic staff may be included in Dateline laurels in some cases.

About Grants

UC Davis reached a milestone in 2022, receiving more than $1 billion in external research funding in one year. 

While this is something to celebrate, the sheer number of grants can be overwhelming to the news media and therefore overlooked. Most media outlets do not cover grants, as they prefer to tell stories about research findings or research in progress that they can see. 

For these reasons, we rarely issue grant news releases. Do feel free to let us know about your grant — it helps us consider future promotion opportunities for the research itself. 

There are limited circumstances where grant releases may be considered newsworthy, such as when a new center or specialty is introduced to the UC Davis campus, or a project is a topic of major public interest.

Additional ways to share grant news with the public include through college, school and unit websites, through the granting agency’s website and through social media. Please consult with your college and school marketing and communications office for more information, or reach out to one of our PIOs to discuss. 

Requests for external videography or photography

  • If anyone contacts you about filming in your laboratory, classroom or other UC Davis location, contact News and Media Relations for guidance.
  • News media. News media may film in any publicly accessible location on campus. They do not need authorization to be on campus. They may enter and film in classrooms, laboratories or other areas with the permission of the instructor or principal investigator.
  • Commercial video or photography. Anyone wishing to carry out commercial video recording or photography using campus locations must complete a contract with the university through Conference and Event Services (Policy & Procedure Manual 270-25). This may include entertainment TV or movie (not news or documentary), advertising shoots or other purposes.
  • Corporate video. Occasionally, researchers working with corporate partners are invited to appear in promotional videos about their project. We recommend consulting with News and Media Relations before agreeing to do so. University policy generally prohibits using the university’s name or trademarks to endorse commercial products or services (Policy & Procedure Manual 310-65 IV C).
  • Location releases. Production companies will often have a location release that they will ask to have signed. This gives them legal permission to use the footage they shoot on campus. These releases should be sent to the news director for review and signature.

Requests for participation in external news releases

  • External sponsors and research partners often want to publicize work done in collaboration with UC Davis researchers. News and Media Relations is happy to coordinate with your partners on any publicity. Generally speaking, we do not issue “joint news releases” but we may contribute to a news release, produce our own version with a different distribution, share on blogs or social media channels, or pursue other options. 
  • UC policy generally prohibits using the university name to endorse commercial products or services (Policy & Procedure Manual 310-65 IV C). This could include, for example, a professor being quoted in a news release speaking favorably about a company or product. Any such news releases should be reviewed by News and Media Relations. We have found that corporate partners understand these legal and policy constraints and will accommodate them.

Event publicity and recording of public lectures

  • News and Media Relations occasionally works with the colleges and schools to distribute media advisories about public lectures and events of interest to a wide audience. Other public lectures and events are sometimes featured in Dateline or through the UC Davis calendar.
  • University of California, Davis is a public institution dedicated to, among other things, the creation and dissemination of knowledge. As part of that dissemination, it is possible that the media may attend and may record public lectures given on campus, whether that lecture is held on Zoom or in an auditorium.
  • It is permissible to record a communication made in a public gathering or in any other circumstances in which the parties to the communication might reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded. It is not permissible to intentionally record a confidential communication without the party's consent.