In the month between Pope Benedict XVI's resignation and Pope Francis' March 13 election UD students, faculty and staff served as sources for more than 30 television, print and radio interviews, generating an estimated advertising equivalent of nearly $400,000 for UD. Advertising value is calculated based on what the coverage would have cost if it were advertising space (or time).
"In reality, the value is probably much greater since we weren't able to identify all press coverage," said Bill Hartley, director of marketing and communications. "It's also a relatively conservative calculation because it does not take into account that greater value is generally placed on mentions by an impartial third-party than that of paid ad space."
According to Hartley, it was immediate response from administrators, faculty and students that made it possible for us to respond to media calls quickly. Some requests for live, in-studio appearances, in fact, were fulfilled with less than two hours notice.
"Credit goes to those who had their spring breaks interrupted or woke up at 4 a.m. to rush to a local television studio or accepted cell phone calls in the middle of St. Peter's Square shortly after the appearance of Pope Francis. Those efforts on behalf of the university were what helped increase UD's visibility as a Catholic university worldwide."
The media relations effort came at no cost to the university. Press releases, fact sheets and media advisories were used to bring attention to faculty subject matter experts and the availability of students currently studying in Rome. Media requests for in-person, phone and Skype interviews, as well as live, in-studio appearances were coordinated by the Office of Marketing & Communications and Rome Assistant Peter Blute.
The list of stories can be found at http://udallas.edu/news/2013/media-seek-out-faculty-students-for-pope-reaction.html.
PHOTO: WFAA guaging student reaction to Pope Francis in the Cap Bar on the day of the announcement.