Office of Communications Guidance for News Release Development

The Georgetown University Medical Center Office of Communications serves as the central point of contact for members of the media interested in medical center’s work, and for faculty/staff interested in promoting their research or expertise. It is our responsibility to assess news opportunities and story ideas, develop news releases and other distribution methods, and to serve as a bridge between faculty/staff and members of the press.

We are often asked how we determine what’s “newsworthy enough” for a news release.

Our first gauge is to remember the audience: News releases are for the news media. We develop news releases that have the best chance of attracting positive media coverage of the medical center (or in case of an event, one that will draw members of the press to campus).

In general, we look for story ideas to fit into one of the categories listed below as we consider what should be a news release. It is important to note that there will always be exceptions; however these guidelines should offer a clearer sense of how we evaluate stories for news release development.

Criteria for official medical center news releases:

  • High impact research appearing in a peer-reviewed journal (particularly research with obvious clinical implications)
  • Significant grant awards or gifts (generally speaking, more than $1 million)
  • Faculty or staff member receiving a national award or professional distinction
  • Opening of a new clinical trial that requires human participants
  • Appointments of new chairs or medical center administration
  • Joint GUMC-MGUH initiatives or educational opportunities for the general public
  • On-campus event open to members of the media

In addition to distributing news releases, we also have other venues for communicating news internally and to donors, such as Health Sciences Weekly, GUMC Connects, the Blue & Gray, and several magazines aimed at medical center alumni and donors. We work closely with the editors of these publications to ensure that we find a place for all of the medical center’s good news.

Lastly, it is important to remember that media coverage comes from personal conversations with reporters, as well as the distribution of news releases. So, if you have an idea of a great story that does not fit the above criteria, please contact the Office of Communications so we can talk about your story idea.

Contact for More Information

Karen Teber
Media Relations
Georgetown University Medical Center