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Update on communications for August 2021

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

News  •
Internal  •

Experimentation is a major part of the creative process—especially post-COVID, where our traditional tactics and previously relied-upon methods are challenged by the new culture and pace of life. With that said, tradition and history are also important. These two elements—the new and the old—must be constantly mixed and used to create a vision for the future.

In this month’s communications update, I will share with you a bit of history about the DU Newsroom—how it came to be, how we currently operate, and an exciting look toward the future. We will also explore the experimentation we have undertaken with The Bridge, our internal employee email newsletter. And finally, we will look at an overview of the latest 2021 Media Report, an annual review of DU’s involvement in local and national media outlets.

DU Newsroom

The University of Denver Newsroom was launched in 2016 to help strengthen the overall image of the University through storytelling. Content ideas for the Newsroom are generated through regular meetings with the academic units and collaboration with other campus partners. Each year, the writers for the Newsroom produce nearly 250 stories, resulting in over 500,000 page views. In addition to being featured on the site, Newsroom stories are used by multiple newsletters distributed to various DU community audiences. They are also often used for proactive media pitches and on DU’s branded social channels.

Since the creation of the Newsroom, the content and website have continued to evolve. The launch of the RadioEd podcast in 2020 provided a new way for sharing stories to highlight the incredible work happening at University of Denver.

The Bridge Experiment

This summer, DU’s employee email newsletter, The Bridge, shifted to a weekly cadence instead of its traditional Tuesday/Thursday schedule. The summer term was seen as a time to experiment with formatting and frequency as the division tested the efficacy of a weekly product.

Though analytics show slightly fewer people are opening The Bridge weekly, the unique click averages are higher and the click-to-open rate was slightly up. Despite seeing a modest rise in positive results on a weekly distribution schedule, this plan is neither practical nor realistic during the remaining academic terms. The Bridge will resume its biweekly production in the fall but will likely continue to adopt a weekly distribution during the summer months.

FY2021 Media Report

Students, faculty, and staff had another active year in terms of involvement with local and national media outlets. University of Denver was featured in key media outlets across Colorado nearly 525 times, which is a three percent increase over the previous year.

While the total number of mentions in national and elite media outlets was down from the previous year, we continue to see an increase in the quality of the media hits. Increasingly, the media hits featuring our faculty and staff highlight the expertise they have and showcase why they are being interviewed about a specific topic. Additionally, faculty who have completed the Public Impact Fellows (PIF) program continue to use their training to be active with the media. Of the nearly 40 faculty members who have gone through the program, the 117 media hits from this group accounted for 16 percent of all media mentions in FY21.

Experimentation is not always easy, but as we strive for more engagement, richer relationships with our audiences, and improved metrics and continued growth, trying new things and learning from the outcomes is necessary.