Media Relations Policy and Procedures

Habersham County Republican Party
Media Relations Policy and Procedures (Updated 4/11/16)
Overview and Purpose:
The Habersham County, Georgia Republican Party, herein referred to as the “HCRP”, establishes and maintains the following policy in order to establish and define the role of both Media and Journalist and the relationship of the organization with these entities:
The news media is frequently interested in the various activities of the HCRP. It is our responsibility to be as open as possible to the requests of the media. We believe that the media provides a vital role in communicating events, issues of the HCRP, and assists us in communicating to the public the work that we do. It also acts as an important facilitator for individuals to build their own perceptions of the HCRP.
This policy exists to assure that information disclosed by the HCRP is timely, accurate, comprehensive, authoritative, and relevant to all aspects of our organization and the community. Adherence to this policy is intended to provide an effective and efficient framework to facilitate the timely dissemination of information.
This document and policy does not extend to any subsidiary organization or entity defined within the HCRP Bylaws, or Mission Statement.
The HCRP defines Media Organizations as the following as defined by US Code (2 USCS § 1602)
“A person or entity engaged in disseminating information to the general public through a newspaper, magazine, other publication, radio, television, cable television, or other medium of mass communication.”
The HCRP defines Journalist as the following:
  1. Any individual employee who is compensated to represent a recognized media organization as defined above.
  2. Any independent individual who is retained or compensated for articles submitted and published by a recognized media organization as defined above.
  3. Any independent individual who has applied for recognition by the HCRP as a member of the media, not falling into either of the previous definition, and complies with the established policy of the organization.
The HCRP acknowledges and recognizes the existence of a third category and definition for Media, that of Social Media. To that extent, the HCRP acknowledges and defines these individuals as persons or people engaging in the definition of journalism as described above, but via formal blog sites or email communications.
This media policy applies to all members defined within the bylaws of the HCRP. This policy covers all external news media, including broadcast, electronic, and print media, both independent and organized as recognized by the HCRP.
Designated Spokesperson of Organization:
The HCRP will always have a single designated individual to serve as the principle communicator between the media and the organization. This person, unless specified for select purposes, will be the duly elected Chair of the organization. As defined by the organization bylaws and any other rules governing the organization, only this individual may speak officially for the HCRP. Any other member approached for comment will automatically refer said individuals and organizations to the designated spokesperson. All formal communications published will come from the designated spokesperson of the HCRP or their proxy as defined by the governing body of the organization and its rules.
Definition of Events
All events of the HCRP will be considered private (save those required by law), unless a formal press release from the County Chair or their designee is released to the media, published on the HCRP information source pages (e.g. Website) and states in the formal press release that the event is not a private event.
The HCRP does not consider events published on Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups, or any messages pertaining to an event via email, on Twitter feeds or in events section of newspaper, as a method of formal communication for the purpose of announcing an event as defined above. To this extent, these methods of communication will not constitute, or be considered a part of any information source that could be used to advise and invite media organizations to attend an event. Only events which are announced by a formal press release by the Designated Spokesperson of the Organization published on the HCRP information source pages (e.g. Website) and states in the formal press release that the event is not a private event, will the event be considered open to the public for media purposes.
Should the media wish to attend a private meeting, a request should be made to the HCRP for consideration. The decision to approve the request being the sole decision of the Chair or their event designee, with appeal possible at the next scheduled County Committee meeting. Select events will automatically be denied without ability to appeal. These include all closed meetings as defined by the HCRP Bylaws (e.g. County and Executive Committee Meetings). All other closed events can be appealed to the County Committee for special consideration.
Requesting Media Credentials
The HCRP may grant any organization that requests Media Credentials upon receiving and reviewing written request provided the following information is provided to the HCRP at time of request:
  1. Name of Organization
  2. Circulation coverage area and Subscriber/Reader statistics
  3. Names of individual(s) representing the organization
  4. Written acknowledgement and agreement to comply with the rules of the organization as they relate to the following:
    1. Non-Participation of representatives
    2. Non-interference with activities of the organization
    3. Acknowledgement of published Industry Ethics Standards
Furthermore, due to the evolving Social Media environment, credentials will be necessary and considered for any individual not affiliated with a recognized media organization as defined above as Social Media members based on the following criteria:
  1. Name of Individual
  2. County of Residency with proof (e.g. Property Tax Bill and Driver’s License or Voter Registration Card and Driver’s License)
  3. Purpose of request
  4. Publication location and subscriber/reader distribution or statistics (Statistics must include duration of existence and should show growth and demographics).
All entities requesting media credentials will be expected to follow some basic rules with regard to audio and video recording activities:
  1. All equipment will be set-up in designated areas to ensure non-interference with activities and those invited to speak or present to the group.
  2. No equipment will impede or block the line of sight of residents and guests attending an event.
  3. No equipment will be operational (recording) prior to start of the event or after adjournment of the event as defined by Chair or of his/her designee.
  4. Only open events will be granted to Media organizations.
Habersham County Mass Meeting Event
The Mass Meeting of the Habersham County Republican Party will always be open to public as dictated by both Georgia Election Law and the Georgia Republican Party (GAGOP) Rules. To that extent, this event is governed by those rules published by the GAGOP and subject to approval as such. The HCRP will grant any resident of Habersham County Media status to this event with proof of residency and acknowledgement that he/she will not participate as a member of his/her precinct during the event, thus ensuring compliance with the non-interference provision of this policy.
Media Credentials
Whereupon the individual or organization is awarded credentials for all events upon application, any individual representing all forms of media will be required to sign in at each individual event and be issued a temporary event press pass. This pass will only be good for the event in question and must be displayed throughout the event and returned at the end of the event. Failure to return the pass will constitute revocation of future passes.
All credentials issued by the HCRP are forbidden from being duplicated in any manner. Should it be found that this has occurred, the individual and organization will have all future credentials revoked and no new credentials will be considered.
Revocation of Media Credentials
Should any individual who has been granted media credentials, either as a representative of an organized media organization or as an independent individual, be found to have violated the HCRP rules, his/her credentials will be revoked immediately.
An appeal of this action should be made in writing within 10 days of the action to the HCRP County Committee for consideration at the next quarterly scheduled meeting. If said individual is employed by an organized media entity, that entity may apply for another individual to be considered. However, the application process will have to occur at the next HCRP County Committee Meeting.