Dothan Housing Authority
COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS MEMORANDUM
SECTION: Agency Administration
AREA: Marketing, Communication, and Media Relations
SUBJECT: Media Relations
Dothan Housing Authority (DHA) a Public Housing Agency (PHA) seeks to ensure that official information is accurately and effectively communicated to the public through news media representatives in a clear, concise, and consistent manner.
All DHA employees are responsible for following current guidelines.
- DEPARTMENTAL FUNCTIONS AND DEFINITIONS
2.1 The Communications department of DHA serves all DHA communities, organizational branches/extensions, and affiliate organizations within the DHA family, including but not limited to Dothan Modernization, Dothan Management Group, BOSS 501 (c)(3), and Our Community Housing and Enrichment Center (OCHEC) and provides support to media relations functions for each.
2.2 The Communications Division of DHA cultivates relationships with reporters and editors to improve acceptance of story ideas; facilitate news media's ability to access information; and communicate effectively about the achievements of the PHA, its staff and residents or clients, externally and internally.
2.3 Communications includes, but is not limited to, press releases, statements, event advisories, publications, multimedia production, media relations, podcasting, web editing, departmental written review, events for internal and external stakeholders, crisis management, strategic advisement and images. This document distinguishes between communications that represent the interests and views of DHA and its affiliates, as opposed to communications that represent individual opinion and other speech.
2.4 Official information includes policies, procedures, positions, and actions of DHA and each of its affiliates.
3.1 Media Inquiries and Outreach
In order to ensure effective communication, all media inquiries or outreach about DHA events, policies, procedures, official positions and actions should be channeled through the office that handles Media Relations at DHA by way of the CEO , his appointed COO, or any other designated appointee. Please see News Media Guidelines below for policy.
3.1a PHA Spokesperson
The spokesperson for the PHA, Dothan Housing Authority, in all matters of business regarding the PHA and or its employees or business is the CEO or his/her appointed representative(s). Any employee acting in this capacity without the expressed written authorization of the CEO may be subject to immediate disciplinary action, including dismissal. No DHA Board Member shall release agency information without the majority consent of the Board of Commissioners. Any commissioner acting without majority consent may be subject to sanctions.
In situations, the CEO has the discretion to grant authority to the COO or CHO and may authorize other staff members, including but not limited to the Communications Coordinator ( or leader of the Department of Communications) of DHA as the PHA Spokesperson. There must be a specific designation of authority for this provision to take effect , and the designation may be modified or withdrawn.
3.1b Release of PHA Information/files/records
No Dothan Housing Authority (DHA) employee may release any PHA information without the expressed written authorization of the Executive Director or his/her authorized representative. No DHA Board Member shall release PHA information without the majority consent of the Board of Commissioners. Any employee acting without proper approval may be subject to immediate disciplinary action including dismissal. Any Commissioner without majority consent may be subject to sanctions.
3.2 Media Requests
- Communications with news media on behalf of DHA, its branches or affiliates in a manner that officially represents or appears to represent DHA and/or its interests shall be conducted by the PHA Spokesperson appointed by the President and CEO and notice should be sent to the office that handles Media Relations at DHA. For the purpose of this policy, news media refers to any representatives of newspapers, blogs, magazines, newsletters, television, radio, podcasts, or any other platforms that post or disseminate information for consumption by secondary audiences.
- All inquiries by news media representatives to individuals in their capacities as DHA employees shall be channeled through the relevant Department of Communications for DHA. It is the responsibility of Communications to manage these interactions with news media, including initiating contact with news media and responding to news media requests.
b.1 A staff member who is directly contacted by a journalist to comment as an expert on topics relating to their area of expertise, may, but is not required to, coordinate through communications. The subject matter cannot be DHA or DHA affiliate related.
- Requests for information from news media under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and forwarded to members of the Senior Management Team for dissemination. Only the Public Information Officer or designee may respond to inquiries under FOIA.
- An employee or department that seeks to publicize a program, event, or achievement through news media shall contact the communications department at least ten business days before an event. Communications will pursue avenues to accomplish the task. The Communications Coordinator must review before submittal, and interviews must follow the policy cited in section 3.1. The Communications Department has access to numerous news media contacts and will work with employees to coordinate publicity or visibility for programs, events or newsworthy issues.
3.3 Guidelines for News Media
- News media are permitted to access DHA properties to the same extent as other members of the public with knowledge that DHA, its properties, and affiliate buildings are designated as private property and are only accessible by permission or invitation according to this document and agency policy. News media must be accompanied by a DHA Communications staff member or DHA employee designated by the CEO of DHA or the designated executive officer-in-charge in the following situations:
1) To access any DHA property or affiliate property, including OCHEC.
2) To gain access to private offices or meeting areas.
3) To gain access to conference rooms while being utilized.
4) Other locations on community properties where a general expectation of privacy exists.
- News media seeking to access and cover DHA events must request access from the Department of Communications.
- News media seeking to access and cover third-party events in a DHA facility shall be credentialed/granted access by the third-party event host.
- News media must contact the Department of Communications for assistance in coordinating interviews with experienced faculty experts to provide context and clarity to news stories.
d.1 DHA or affiliate personnel must never schedule interviews pertaining to DHA-specific policy, procedures, documents, initiatives, meetings, personnel members, residents, clients, affiliate organizations, events, or related activities without the expressed consent of the CEO.
3.4 General Information
DHA, its branches, and affiliates comply with all applicable federal and state laws, including those regarding the retention and release of personal and/or educational records of all current and former employees and staff members, and with all privacy and security policies as written per DHA policy and its Human Resources Department.
- REVIEW AND RESPONSIBILITY
Responsible Party: Department of Communications| L.G. Communications Coordinator
Last Reviewed: March 3, 2022
Next Review: March 3, 2024