MnDOT Policy #WF007
Revised: April 27, 2022
Please go to the MnDOT Org Chart to find specific contact information: Org Chart.
Responsible Senior Officer: Deputy Commissioner/Chief Administrative Officer
Policy Owner: Director, Office of Communications and Public Engagement
Policy Contact: Media Relations Coordinator
The Minnesota Department of Transportation prioritizes accurate and timely communications that provide clear and consistent information to the media and the public. The Office of Communications and Public Engagement coordinates responses and messaging for the agency in partnership with district communications and public engagement staff.
MnDOT employees, contractors, consultants, or other third parties must receive preapproval from MnDOT district communications and public engagement staff or the Office of Communications and Public Engagement prior to communicating with any member of the media on behalf of MnDOT.
The purpose of the policy is to:
- Ensure MnDOT is a credible source for transportation information and updates
- Ensure authorized spokespersons speak on behalf of MnDOT
- Build trust and relationships with the media and the public
All MnDOT employees must comply with this policy. Contractors or consultants must not speak on MnDOT’s behalf without preapproval from MnDOT district communications and public engagement staff or the Office of Communications and Public Engagement.
Key stakeholders with responsibilities under this policy include:
- Office of Communications and Public Engagement
- District Communications and Public Engagement Staff
- Managers, Supervisors, and Project Managers
- Spokespersons and Topic Experts
Critical information that MnDOT needs to communicate about a given topic.
Any print, television, radio, or Internet channel of communication.
Ongoing communication with media sources to ensure accurate and timely agency information is provided to a broad public audience. Media relations includes responding to media requests for information and interviews, issuing news releases and media packets, providing public statements and commentary, managing media investigations, and holding news conferences and media events.
An individual who represents MnDOT to the media for specific issues, events, projects, or crisis situations.
Topic Expert (Media)
Employees who are directly involved with and have professional knowledge about the subject of a media inquiry.
Office of Communications and Public Engagement
- Manage, coordinate, and direct media relations for the agency.
- Serve as the sole source of information for the agency during unexpected or crisis situations.
- Collaborate with spokespersons and topic experts to establish key messages, draft responses, and/or prepare for interviews.
- Provide communications guidance and support to all MnDOT offices and districts.
- Collaborate with MnDOT leadership to determine the agency’s communications and media relations priorities.
- Provide training and advice to managers and staff on working with the media.
- Serve as liaison to the Governor’s office for communications issues, such as providing daily media contacts and information about potential MnDOT stories in the media and seeking approval of media releases, as needed.
District Communications and Public Engagement Staff
- Manage, coordinate, and direct media relations for the district in consultation with the Office of Communications and Public Engagement.
- Collaborate with district spokespersons and topic experts to establish key messages, draft responses, and/or prepare for interviews.
- Plan, research, write, and edit informational materials so that MnDOT district activities and perspectives are clearly presented to the news media.
- Report daily media contacts to the Office of Communications and Public Engagement.
- Advise the District Engineer and management on media relations issues.
- Manage district communications and public engagement consultant contracts to ensure key messages and strategies are coordinated and adhere to agency standards.
- Consult with the Office of Communications and Public Engagement on all non-routine communications and public events.
Managers, Supervisors, and Project Managers
- Ensure that employees, contractors, and consultants are aware of and understand this policy.
- Ensure that spokespersons and topic experts consult with appropriate communications and public engagement staff and are provided the appropriate support before communicating with the media.
Spokespersons and Topic Experts
- Consult with appropriate communications and public engagement staff before communicating with the media.
Policy Owner (Director, Office of Communications and Public Engagement)
- Review the policy every two years, or sooner as necessary, to ensure the policy remains up-to-date.
- Ensure supporting documents and training associated with the policy remain current.
- Work with the Policy Coordinator to revise the policy and/or confirm its accuracy.
- Communicate policy revisions, reviews, and retirements to stakeholders.
- Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act)
- Business Data Catalog (BDC) – accessible from employee Intranet
- MnDOT’s Policy Website
March 21, 2013
- Policy 3.24, Media Relations
- Effective: May 12, 2005
- Revised: February 14, 2011
- Guideline 3.24-G-1, Media Relations Guidelines
- First Revision: April 27, 2022 (also renumbered from #HR007 to #WF007)
This policy's next scheduled review is due April 2024.