Media Communications Policy
The Uniting Church in South Australia is committed to ensuring that a consistent and positive image is projected in its dealings with the media and the general public.
Media attention has the potential to enhance, as well as detract from, the overall reputation and credibility of any organisation including the Uniting Church in SA. It is important that all [lay employees, ministers of the word, deacons, lay pastors, volunteers] that make up the Uniting Church in SA share an understanding of, and commitment to, the systems and processes which have been developed for the positive management of media relations for the Church.
The media communications policy sets out the principles which underpin the approach of Uniting Church in SA to media relations, and the procedures for coordinating and managing media relations. It ensures information disclosed by Uniting Church in SA is timely, comprehensive, accurate, authoritative, consistent and relevant to all aspects of the Uniting Church in SA.
The policy also ensures any external media produced by Uniting Church in SA is consistent with organisational branding and style guidelines. The policy also ensures confidentiality; privacy and copyright laws are adhered to when producing and communicating media content to a wide audience.
The media communications policy applies to all [lay employees, ministers of the word, deacons, lay pastors, volunteers] of Uniting Church in SA. This policy covers all external news media, including broadcast, electronic and print. It also stipulates the policy for planned media engagement.
Designation of Organisational Spokesperson
The authority to speak with the media (including, but not restricted to, representatives from broadcast, electronic and print media) rests with the Uniting Church in SA Moderator.
As specified in section 22.214.171.124 (g) of the Uniting Church Constitution and Regulations handbook, the Moderator speaks on public issues for the church. The Moderator is the only official spokesperson for the church.
The Moderator can, if the circumstances are appropriate, authorise a suitable qualified person to represent the Uniting Church in SAto the media on his/her behalf.
Procedure/Protocol for Communicating with the Media
If representatives from the Uniting Church in SA are approached by the media or a journalist and asked for comment, advise the representative that the Uniting Church in SA policy is to refer all media enquiries to corporate communications. Refrain from providing any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Ask the journalist what information he or she requires, which newspaper, magazine, radio or television station or web publication they represent, what their deadline is, and the best way to contact them. After this information has been gathered, contact the Executive Officer Engagement as soon as possible. The Executive Officer will then follow-up with the Moderator to coordinate a suitable response.
Individual members of staff will not normally speak to the media on behalf of the Synod. However, they may be designated as a spokesperson by the Moderator.
The Executive Officer Engagement is responsible for drafting media releases, in consultation with the Moderator. The draft will then be approved by the Moderator before it is released to the media and the general public. Copies of media releases will also be made available to members of staff via the Uniting Church in SA website and the weekly Uniting Church in SA electronic newsletter, UC e-news.
The Moderator will work with the Executive Officer Engagement when preparing pastoral letters. Pastoral letters will be distributed via distribution databases, and placed on the Uniting Church in SA website if appropriate.
Guidelines for Photographs and Film
Media consent must be obtained from individuals appearing in photographs or video footage prior to the visuals appearing in any Uniting Church in SA print or online publication.
The media consent form must be sighted by a representative from the corporate engagement team, and a signed and dated copy stored electronically, ensuring it is accessible for engagement staff and if an individual request to view a signed copy. The media consent form is available on the Uniting Church SA website.
If photographs and/or video footage are obtained from an agency or another third party, documented notification from the agency/third party is required to guarantee permission has been granted by the individuals appearing in the photographs/footage. This is also required to be stored electronically, ensuring the permission is accessible for engagement staff should anyone request to view the authorised permission.
If an individual is requesting permission to take photographs or film inside any Uniting Church in SA facility, contact the Executive Officer Engagement to source approval. If a journalist or camera crew shows up unannounced (more likely to occur in a crisis situation) contact the Executive Officer Engagement as soon as possible so the journalist or camera crew’s newsroom can be contacted to obtain clarification. The media cannot enter a Uniting Church in SA facility to photograph or film without permission although Uniting Church in SA cannot prevent media from obtaining footage from the exterior of the building.
Copyright protects a variety of original creative works which includes photographs, video and text. Infringement occurs when an individual uses work that is protected by copyright laws without the creator's permission. It should be assumed that everything not created by you is copyrighted by someone else.There are many online resources which provide freely usable text, audio and photographs. The Uniting Church in SA prohibits the act of copyright infringement. If you require further information or clarification regarding copyright, contact the Executive Officer Engagement.
Planned Publicity and Media Engagement
A critical component of promoting key messages to the broader public is the implementation of planned publicity as part of the annual Uniting Church in SA Engagement Plan.
The Executive Officer Engagement, in consultation with the CEO/General Secretary and the Moderator, possesses responsibility for the management and oversight of proactive media and publicity campaigns, and has the ability to delegate authority to issue/project specific engagement strategies to individual staff.
The Executive Officer Engagement must be kept informed of the progress and activities related to any planned publicity and media engagement. The Executive Officer Engagement is also responsible for approving any video content planned for inclusion on the Uniting Church in SA website, sa.uca.org.au and associated social media channels.
All planned publicity and media engagement undertaken by staff must be carried out in accordance with this media communications policy, and any other policies and procedures currently existing within the Uniting Church in SA.
It is important that all Uniting Church congregations, faith communities and councils clearly identify that they are part of the Uniting Church in SA. In 2018, the Standing Committee endorsed a Naming Policy which outlines how churches and faith communities of the Uniting Church in SA clearly identfiy as part of the wider body of the Uniting Church in Australia. The Naming Policy can be downloaded at the PDF link below: Naming Policy (154 kb PDF)
Naming Policy (154 kb PDF)
Confidential Information and requests
If there are any questions or queries in relation to this media communications policy, please contact the Executive Officer Engagement by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 8236 4249.
Related Uniting Church SA Policies
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