Media Relations Policy | Overview
If a news outlet reaches out to you for an interview on COVID-19 or any topic – whether it’s for print, online, TV or radio - you must notify the Media Relations department of the request and keep them in the loop along the way. Our media relations team ensures that requests are being properly vetted which allows the hospital to keep track of our subject matter experts and where they’ll be quoted. The media team also helps prepare our experts in advance of interviews.
Please review the following policy and if you have any questions please contact Media Relations.
To contact Media Relations, email email@example.com or call 617-919-3110 during regular business hours. Before 8:30 a.m., after 5 p.m. and on weekends, call the page operator at 617-355-6369, beeper #1641.
To effectively manage Boston Children's high level of media activity, Media Relations has established the following policy. This policy helps us best showcase the expertise and dedication of our staff and employees.
- OP-EDS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Staff who wish to write an op-ed or letter to the editor using their Boston Children’s Hospital affiliation must submit a draft and receive approval from Media Relations prior to submittal. You can submit an op-ed or letter to the editor as a private individual but you can’t use your Boston Children’s Hospital affiliation and title. These views or opinions should be presented as personal views and not those of Boston Children's Hospital.
- Notify Media Relations promptly about any calls from -- or contact with -- the media. This includes reporters, photographers, freelance writers or video production organizations from any newspaper, magazine, television, radio or online-based media outlets. Please call ext. 4-3110. Please don’t speak to a member of the media directly on your own.
- Communicate with Media Relations prior to contacting the media if you are initiating a story or if you are thinking about writing an op-ed or letter to the editor. Media Relations will work with you to determine if the story is appropriate for external media. If so, we will identify and notify appropriate media representatives or work with you to place the editorial.
- Once interviews are approved by Media Relations, research and medical staff should tell reporters to identify them by their Boston Children's Hospital titles in stories related to their work or roles at Boston Children's.
- Staff who expect publication of research studies or articles should contact Media Relations well in advance of the publication date. We will work with the author to determine appropriate publicity and will be responsible for arranging interviews with interested media.
- No information other than a one-word condition is made available to any member of the media unless Media Relations receives parental or guardian written authorization. We cannot elaborate on a patient’s injuries, illness or prognosis without specific written consent by the patient or the patient’s family. When asking for a patient’s condition update, you must first provide the media representative with the patient’s full name. We use standard language acceptable under HIPAA laws and American Hospital Association guidelines to describe patient conditions. They include:
- Undetermined - Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment.
- Good - Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
- Fair - Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
- Serious - Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
- Critical - Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
- Hospital staff who wish to confirm the identity of callers who identify themselves as Media Relations staff may hang up and page the Media Relations person on call (beeper #1641) for verification.
- To protect the privacy of Boston Children's patients and families, a staff member from Media Relations must accompany any reporter, film crew or photographer on the Children's campus or at Martha Eliot Health Center.
- No media will be permitted in the Enders animal facility without prior approval by Karen Krueger, DVM, director of Animal Resources at Children's Hospital (ARCH) and Media Relations. All arrangements for filming are to be made by Media Relations. No media filming of research animals is ever permitted.
- The Media Relations team is responsible for providing advance notification to patient care areas selected for media interviews, photography shoots and film productions. Release of patient information, photos, video, etc. requires a signed authorization.