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Library: Policy

OKDHS:2-37-1. Media relations

Revised 8-1-14

(a) All media releases related to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), including editorial commentary, opinion, and fact or information pieces are distributed through the Office of Communications.

  • (1) Media counsel.  The Office of Communications or program level communications professional works directly with staff in DHS county offices to provide immediate consultation prior to interviews requested by the media.  Local directors are provided the primary support, as resources allow, to communicate the DHS mission, goals, and objectives to the general public, legislators, and others requesting information.

  • (2) Media releases.  Media releases may be developed by DHS offices or programs.  The releases must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Communications prior to release.  Locally developed media releases are forwarded to the Office of Communications for assignment to a communications manager.

    • (A) The development of a media release begins with an initial Office of Communications or program level communications professional contact.

    • (B) The communications manager or program level communications professional and the office or program originating the media release collaborates to:

      • (i) produce a finalized document; and

      • (ii) determine a media release time and date and posting on the Internet.

    • (C) Before release to the media, approval of the finalized media document is secured by an office or program director or a higher official(s) by:

      • (i) signature on the document; or

      • (ii) an email response stating approval.

    • (D) The Communications and Community Relations director, appropriate designated DHS Executive Team official, or both, has final approval of the materials released on behalf of DHS to the media and public.

  • (3) News media conferences and briefings.  All media conferences and briefings are approved and coordinated through the Office of Communications.  The Communications and Community Relations director assigns staff to:

    • (A) reserve the location for the event;

    • (B) schedule use of equipment needed;

    • (C) coordinate with the requesting unit, the preparation of media releases, media packets, and other materials for the event;

    • (D) mail or electronically transmit an advance notice to media about the event; and

    • (E) make personal contact with appropriate media the day before the event.

  • (4) Media inquiries.  The Office of Communications goal is to make an initial response to all media inquiries within one hour of the receipt of the inquiry.

    • (A) The communications manager handling the inquiry:

      • (i) provides the requested information;

      • (ii) contacts the DHS staff who can provide the information and arranges and coordinates an interview with the requesting party; or

      • (iii) makes arrangements with the requesting party to provide the information when it is available.

    • (B) When matters that may attract media coverage come to the attention of Office of Communications staff, the Office of Communications immediately advises the Director of Human Services and other appropriate staff about the matter.

  • (5) News features, television and radio shows, and webcasts.  At the request of an office or program director or administrator, the Office of Communications arranges for DHS spokespersons to appear on radio or television shows, or webcasts.  In connection with special events, the Office of Communications requests appropriate spokespersons for appearances.  An Office of Communications or program level communications professional staff member:

    • (A) confirms details, including the time, date, location, format, length, and direction of the interview; and

    • (B) holds a briefing or simulated interview with the selected spokesperson prior to the appearance.

  • (6) Media contacts.  When a DHS employee is contacted directly by a member of the media, he or she may answer questions as they would for any member of the public.  Any statements or other questions about a particular service recipient are referred to the county director or program administrator unless he or she is the designated spokesperson for the subject matter.  In all media inquiries, DHS employees immediately contact the Office of Communications at 405-521-3027.  

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